WSBK » 10 July 2000
Haga strikes in race one battle.
Bostrom was also on the move, the American rider using his extensive circuit knowledge to follow Corser past the ailing Frankie Chili moments after Bayliss went down. The Australian and the American then set about catching the two leaders who had already pulled out a one second lead, Edwards quite content to sit behind Haga.
In the absence of several of the more competitive WSB privateers and Alessandro Antonello on the second factory Aprilia, the field looked somewhat thin behind the top half dozen bikes or so. Slight and Fujiwara continued to battle gamely for seventh with Goddard and Giovanni Bussei hotly disputing ninth position. The Australian had been tailing the second Suzuki until his tyres began to go off at an alarming rate, sending the Kawasaki plummeting down the order.
Goddard's place in the top ten therefore went to Juan Borja, the Spaniard making slow progress from the fourth row of the grid after his Superpole crash. The remainder of the field had become fairly strung out and trailed the leaders by well over 20 seconds after just ten laps. Haruchika Aoki, having a quiet run on the R&D Bieffe Ducati, followed Borja with Andy Meklau, Marco Borciani, Lucio Pedercini and Lance Isaacs all following along at regular intervals. Lone wildcard rider Larry Pegram had been mixing it with the above group on his Competition Accessories Ducati until a serious tyre problem dropped him out of contention. Aside from Bayliss, the only other two retirees during the first dozen laps had been Vittoriano Guareschi on the second factory Yamaha and Robert Ulm on the quicker of the two Gerin Ducati's.
Back at the front Bostrom had decided that he wanted to lead the chase of the two leaders and swept passed Corser in a breathtaking move on the inside of the corkscrew. For several laps leading up the mid point of the 28 lap race, the two black bikes chipped away at Haga's lead until the Japanese rider was able to stabilise the gap at exactly two seconds. Edwards meanwhile had slowly fallen away from the Yamaha, the Honda not reacting as well to the heat as the Yamaha and by lap 16 he found himself defending his place against the hungry Bostrom and Corser.
With Colin now becoming more and more preoccupied with Bostrom and less worried about Haga, the gap between first and second grew substantially during the next three laps, growing to nearly four seconds by lap 20.
Despite several last gasp attempts, Bostrom could not find a way around the Honda ahead of him leaving him scampering across the track to defend his podium place from Corser on more than one occasion.
The scrap for second place became one of the few remaining highlights of what was a dull race by WSB standards, Fujiwara finally found a way passed Slight for seventh but could not catch Yanagawa in sixth, who in turn could not quite get on terms with Chili. Borciani, Isaacs and Paolo Blora all disappeared from the midfield tussle at around mid distance leaving a rather depleted field to reel off the remaining laps.
Haga did his best to keep the crowd entertained with a typically forceful ride although even he did not try and push his limits as he knows that he cannot risk losing a single point for the rest of the year until his suspension is finally quashed, or otherwise. Nori took the winners laurels with a great sense of both joy and relief, happy with his bike but also thankful that he was simply able to ride it.
The battle for the bottom two steps of the podium continued until the very last corner as gradually Corser began to test Bostrom, finding his weak and strong points and plotting where best to make his move. The sheer grunt of the Ducati made it impossible for the crafty Corser to slipstream Bostrom out of a corner leaving a spectacular late breaking move as his only option. As Bostrom tried in vain to uproot Edwards, the Aprilia rider chose his moment and waited to pounce. That moment came on the penultimate turn on the final lap when Corser dived down the inside of the NCR Ducati, pushing his way through but leaving himself off-line for the run into the final hairpin. Bostrom quickly gathered his thoughts and counterattacked into the hairpin, forcing his front tyre ahead of the Aprilia. However Bostrom wasn't able to scrub of all the speed he needed to before the turn and ran wide letting Corser tuck the Aprilia onto the racing line and pull away to claim the final podium position.
Bostrom was naturally disappointed on missing out on a top three finish but was still upbeat about his tyres and their performance in the race, and he had learned a valuable lesson for race two.
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