WSBK » 4 June 2000
Bayliss storms to first win.
Bayliss looked very comfortable at the front and held the place for an entire lap before Edwards and Chili went either side of the Ducati on the exit of the Ayrton Senna chicane. Chili once again moved to the head of the multi-coloured train which was made up of five different bikes from five different manufacturers, this was Superbike racing at it's very best.
At the ten lap mark, a mere one second separated Chili, Edwards, Bayliss, Haga and Yanagawa with Slight and Corser still within striking distance. The Gerin Ducati twins Meklau and Ulm had, by now got the better of Antonello in the second Aprilia and were making inroads into Corser. Behind the top ten, Crafar now led the battle for eleventh but only by a whisker from Borja, Plater, Bostrom and Haydon.
As the race entered its' closing stages the position shuffle became a little more frantic as the leaders all fought for the best position in the sprint to the flag. First to show his hand was Yanagawa who moved up to second behind the new leader Bayliss. Edwards and Chili dropped back to fourth and fifth places respectively and seemed content to let the others battle. By lap twelve it was clear that it would be a five bike battle to the finish and in the circumstances, one had to favour the experience of Edwards and Chili.
Yanagawa had other ideas and with his Kawasaki performing better than had been expected, he moved to the front at the Jim Clark chicane on the penultimate lap.
As the quintet entered its' final lap Yanagawa still had the edge over Bayliss with Edwards and Chili looking menacing in third and fourth. Out into the countryside they poured with the lime green missile leading its red, white, purple and wine coloured counterparts. Into the first chicane Bayliss lunged to the inside to take the lead only to have Yanagawa retaliate into the Ostkurve, behind these two, Chili suddenly put his hand in the air and slowed with a mechanical problem and forlornly pulled to the side of the track. And then there were four.
Bayliss took advantage of his Ducati's superior straight line speed to move around the outside of the Kawasaki going into the Senna chicane but in doing so both he and Yanagawa lost a touch of momentum. This allowed Edwards and Haga to close right up and on the straight leading into the stadium section it was four abreast with Bayliss clinging to the inside. The Australian held off Yanagawa round the Sachskurve and took the line into the final series of turns to take his first win by a scant two tenths of a second.
Behind the ecstatic victor, Yanagawa held on to a fine second while Haga beat out Edwards for the final podium place. In a race where Edwards was expected to dominate, he had failed to make the podium.
Slight came home over three seconds behind the leaders to inherit fifth after Chili's demise while an inspired Meklau just edged out Corser on the final lap.
Ulm and Antonello were eighth and ninth while the battle for eleventh had been promoted to a battle for tenth on the last lap with Bostrom coming out on top. The American, in his first ride for the satellite NCR Ducati team beat off Kawasaki returnee Crafar, Haydon, Borja on the second Infostrada Ducati and Plater who thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of WSB action.
Markus Barth took the final point on his Yamaha after another race-long battle with fellow privateers Alessandro Gramigni and Marco Borciani.
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