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Suzuki one-two at Qatar race one!
26 February 2005
Alstare Suzuki today finished the first race of the 2005 World Superbike championship form Qatar in the form they had been hinting at so far this season.
In the two part race, stopped due to a heavy shower, Troy Corser led Yukio Kagayama – by aggregated time – to take the first win of the season.
At the start of the first part of the race the damp track did little to deter the riders with all of them choosing to go out on slicks.
DFXtreme Yamaha rider Jose Luis Cardoso, who had shown so much promise so far, was unable to start his R1 and join the field in the warm up lap. With the bike back in the pits his team were still unable to start the machine meaning Cardoso had to sit out the race.
From the green light Yukio Kagayama started well from fourth on the grid to be the early leader closely followed by Sebastien Gimbert, Laconi and Corser - who took the Ducati rider to move up into third on only the second corner, as Gimbert made a mistake and fell back down the order.
Corser then out-braked his Japanese team-mate at the first corner of the second lap to take the lead, where he quickly established himself a healthy buffer that he increased up until the stoppage on lap ten.
Kagayama meanwhile became a victim to Laconi for second position on lap six after the Frenchman had beat off a challenge from Yamaha riding Andrew Pitt.
In the overtake for second place Kagayama and Laconi had exited the final corner side-by-side but Kagayama managed to use the four-cylinder grunt to out pace the Ducati by the end of the 1km start-finish straight.
Laconi then muscled his way through only for the pair to ride side-by-side again through the first set of corners. Laconi then had the advantage of the racing line into a fast sweeping left-hander, although this didn't seem to deter Yukio who still tried to ride round the outside despite being on the 'dirty' part of the track. Laconi edged through despite Kagayama's best efforts.
Laconi then went about trying to reel in Corser's four second lead which he made little indent on before the race was stopped on the 11th lap.
For the re-start of race one, the grid was decided on the positions on lap ten, which meant that Abe and Haga lost a place after both of them passed Pitt on lap 11.
The grid racked up with Corser on pole, Laconi second, Kagayama third and Pitt in fourth followed by Norick Abe, Noriyuki Haga, Chris Vermeulen, Alberto Ivan Silva, James Toseland and Sebastien Gimbert.
Abe was unfortunate in that his R1 refused to start for the second part of the race which had been declared wet despite there being a dryer track than the start of the first part.
Abe did eventually get the bike started in the pit lane with the help of the Foggy Petronas bike starter, so he could start the second part from pit lane.
In the second race start Yukio again took the whole-shot into the first corner as Laconi and Corser battled it out for third behind second placed Andrew Pitt.
Laconi had third on the second corner only to be taken again by Corser half-way through the lap.
Laconi followed Corser through when he took Pitt on the second lap of the re-start.
On aggregated time at this point, with Kagayama's slight lead, the Japanese rider had secured second place overall, with Corser leading and Laconi in third – this was the way it would stay for the remainer of the race.
On track Laconi was still in second trying to chase down Kagayama's two second advantage, closely followed by Corser, as he rode just fast enough to make sure he finished the race in the lead.
By the 12th lap overall Abe had moved up to tenth on the track but still hadn't managed to take his first race's fifth position back.
James Toseland came out with all guns blazing hoping to improve on his first part race finish of ninth. He led a gallant second part to secure a final sixth as he still battles with bruising suffered from a self proclaimed high-side of his life during practice earlier in the week.
Chris Vermeulen was cutting through the field to secure sixth on time by the 12th lap, only to be pipped to the post by James Toseland and Ivan Silva as they stretched out a small lead on track which relegated the Honda rider to eighth on corrected time.
Race one top ten: Result
Race one top ten: On track
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