Colin Edwards comfortably won the opening race at Oschersleben to put one hand on the 2000 World Superbike Championship after a dominant performance around the bumpy German track.

Colin Edwards cemented his place at the top of the 2000 World Superbike Championship after comfortably waltzing away from the massive 36-bike field to lead from start to finish and increase his lead over Noriyuki Haga with just three races remaining.

The American Honda rider made a faultless start from pole position to take the advantage into Turn One and into a lead he never lost.

Behind the leader there was a scary crash involving third place man Juan Borja and Doriano Romboni when Romboni's riderless Ducati sideswiped Borja sending the Spaniard onto the tarmac right in front of the oncoming pack. Somehow everyone avoided Borja who retreated to safety nursing a sprained wrist.

At the end of lap one, Edwards was already opening out a slight margin over his pursuers who were led initially by Troy Bayliss and Pier Francesco Chili. The fast starting Giovanni Bussei held down fifth place and was the first of a quartet of bright green Kawasaki's, the three factory machines of Akira Yanagawa, Gregorio Lavilla and Peter Goddard all following line astern.

As for the other championship contenders, Troy Corser was closely following the Kawasaki train in ninth place ahead of Aaron Slight while Noriyuki Haga found himself boxed in at the start and was only 13th.

The ease with which Edwards was able to pull away from Chili and Bayliss in the opening laps was quite astonishing with the American rider looking relaxed and well within his limits.

Chili on the other hand was far from relaxed and with the pain from his Assen crash adding to his already damaged shoulder, the Suzuki rider was soon struggling to control his mount over the vicious bumps that have made this circuit one of the most physically demanding on the WSB calendar.

The battle for fifth place, which had initially involved all everyone down to Haga in 13th was thinned out as Bussei began to fall away with a slight misfire that would eventually prove terminal and Goddard was summoned to the pits after jumping the start.

However the man on the move was Lavilla who was using his circuit knowledge to put in his best performance of the year, passing Yanagawa and Chili before half distance and homing in on Bayliss.

With passing notoriously difficult around this tight 2.2-mile track, it is unsurprising that this was one of the more processional races seen this year and with Edwards simply untouchable at the front, most of the attention turned to the progress of Lavilla who was soon harrying the Ducati of Bayliss for second position. The inevitable pass came just eight laps from the end as the two approached the first chicane and once through, Lavilla was able to pull away from Bayliss and actually reduce Edwards' lead to just over five seconds by the end.

Bayliss was nonetheless satisfied with third as he continues to learn the World Superbike ropes although Yanagawa and Slight ran him close at the end as the Australian's tyres faded.

Chili took a brave sixth position for Suzuki even though he had trouble actually dismounting such was the pain he was in at the end of the race.

For both Corser and Haga, Race One was an event to forget as Corser was unable to challenge Slight and Yanagawa ahead and had to settle for seventh place at the end while Haga used the best of his tyres in the early laps as he tried to move into the top ten and came home a disconsolate ninth behind the impressive Aprilia of Alessandro Antonello.

Ben Bostrom rounded out the top ten after a quiet run while Alessandro Gramigni put in another solid performance on the Valli Racing Yamaha to finish eleventh. Wataru Yoshikawa upheld the honours for the Japanese Superbike Championship with a solid run to twelfth with Robert Ulm, Katsuaki Fujiwara and Markus Barth completing the points scorers.