A fresh breeze had taken hold at the sun drenched Misano circuit as the fans prepared for the second Superbike race of the day. The wind was blowing down the back straight and could provide a helpful boost for the riders on the fastest part of the track.
The race distance was reduced to 23 laps after Juan Borja caused the first start to be aborted when his motor died.
Re-fired and raring to go, all 33 riders got away cleanly at the second time of asking. Once again Troy Corser
was unable to capitalise on his pole position and it was Katsuaki Fujiwara who got the jump on the field and led into the first turn, closely pursued by Noriyuki Haga, Corser and Troy Bayliss.
Fujiwara was riding like a man inspired and gamely fought off Haga's advances on the opening lap. The Corona Alstare Suzuki man completed lap one a mere three bike lengths ahead of Haga with Corser tucked in under the Yamaha's exhaust pipes. Bayliss was continuing his strong race one form in fourth position ahead of the lead Honda of Aaron Slight. Borja was next along, followed in quick succession by Ben Bostrom, (from 14th on the grid) Peter Goddard, Alessandro Antonello, Pierfrancesco Chili, Colin Edwards and Akira Yanagawa (down from 4th on the grid).
It took Corser just over a lap to get into his stride and as the leaders accelerated away from the Curva Del Carro, the Aprilia looked to be in a perfect position to draft ahead of the leaders. Sure enough, along the back straight the Aprilia darted out from behind Haga and remained on the inside line until Fujiwara had also been passed.
Now safely into the lead, Corser set about conserving his tyres. Fujiwara was too pre-occupied with Haga to mount a concerted challenge on the Aprilia which meant that Troy could relax slightly. Behind the lead trio, Bayliss was still within striking distance as was Borja on the second Infostrada Ducati.
One surprising aspect of the early going was the total lack of progress made by Edwards and Yanagawa. By the end of lap eleven, the pair were still only 11th and 12th, almost 15 seconds behind the leaders and losing almost two seconds a lap. Colin appeared to be somewhat subdued after his race one clash with his team-mate and was having extreme difficulty in finding a way past the well ridden Aprilia of Antonello.
Positions at the front remained static until lap seven when Haga finally made a move stick on Fujiwara at Tramonto. The Yamaha looked to be eating its tyres but it didn't prevent Haga from moving right onto the tail-pipes of Corser within half a lap of deposing Fujiwara. The lead pair went into lap eight almost as one and through the first three corners Haga was content to sit behind Corser, calmly following his line and waiting for an opening.
That opening appeared to come along the back straight on the eighth tour when Haga shoved the front wheel of the Yamaha deep into Tramonto. However Haga was carrying too much speed into the turn and drifted wide, allowing Corser to re-take the lead. However at the very next corner it was Corser's turn to run wide which gave Haga the lead once again. But not for long as on the entry to the Curva Del Rio Haga's front tyre refused to respond as quickly as the rider would have liked and Corser was once again the leader. All this in the space of five corners!
Once again Fujiwara had the best seat in the house to watch the action although with Bayliss now hassling the Suzuki for third, he couldn't afford to relax. With Corser and Haga continuing to trip each other up at every opportunity, the top four had closed up with just one second separating them. Also closing up in fifth was Borja who was being closely tracked by Chili who had found a way past Slight.