Troy Bayliss completed his first World Superbike double victory in fine style at Monza on Sunday as he led home defending WSBK Champion Colin Edwards by the comfortable margin of three seconds after another classic duel.

Troy Bayliss is a quick learner. On Sunday he learnt that his life would be far more stressful if he allowed Colin Edwards the merest sniff of a race win on the final lap and the Australian had to resort to some bravery of epic proportions to take his first win of the 2001 season. In the second 18 lap race of the day he made his job much more simple by demoralising the Texan during the final three laps with some stunning bike control but only after giving the rabid Monza faithful more than their money's worth in the opening 14 or so laps with another terrific duel.

On this occasion Bayliss and Edwards occupied the top two positions from the first chicane (grrr) to the chequered flag although they once again managed to swap positions more than a dozen times with Edwards preferring to make the majority of his moves going into said chicane with Bayliss opting for the far more popular (in terms of the number of loopy Ducati fans sitting in the nearest grandstand) Ascari chicane and Parabolica.

Related Articles

It was at the Ascari chicane on lap 13 where Bayliss made the decisive move on Edwards and although the Castrol Honda rider clung grimly to the exhaust pipes of the Infostrada Ducati mounted foe until lap 16, it was clear that Bayliss had made better use of his tyres earlier on in proceedings and Edwards dropped away steadily as the race reached its conclusion.

As in race one there was a four bike breakaway for most of the race with the second factory Honda of Tadayuki Okada and the factory Suzuki of local God Frankie Chili battling gamely with Bayliss and Edwards. Chili made a stunning start from eighth on the grid (one place above his qualifying place after the withdrawal of Ben Bostrom who dislocated his shoulder crashing out of race one), to place third at the first turn and the 36-year old Italian made the GSX R750 beg for mercy as he hammered the living daylights out of it throughout the race.

On a bike clearly not as quick as those around it, Chili sent the Monza hordes into raptures every lap as he clung to the rear of Okada, less than one second off the lead until 12 laps were in the books when both he and Okada began to fade away. Try as he might Chili could not get alongside the more powerful Honda and as both rider's tyres cried enough they were left as easy prey for the resurgent Akira Yanagawa who spectacularly swept past them both in the closing three laps to take his second podium finish of the day.

Seven tenths of a second separated the trio as they crossed the line and despite finishing in fifth place, Chili still saw fit to deposit most of his racing attire to his adoring fans. Okada was disappointed not to make the podium but happy to have scored some more good points after another race one disaster and to have run at the very front of a World Superbike race for the first time discounting the Phillip Island lottery.

Sixth place for Ruben Xaus made up somewhat of his race one mishap but after a stern talking to from none other than Carl Fogarty in between races; it was possibly fear that kept Xaus upright on this occasion as he held off his race one combatant Neil Hodgson.

Hodgson made a reasonable start from second on the grid behind Bayliss but was still forced to give best to Chili and the inspired Alessandro Antonello on the first lap. As he took time to adjust to the bike, fixed after his race one problem, several other riders made their way passed the GSE Racing Ducati although after falling as low as ninth at one point, the 2000 British Superbike Champion, emerged victorious in a scrap with the Aprilia of Regis Laconi.

Laconi was yet again the sole factory Aprilia to complete the full 18 laps after Antonello's fine run came to a smoky halt on lap four after he had previously held down third spot and Corser, who made a bad getaway, toured in from seventh on lap 11. Corser's double DNF has allowed Bayliss to put some clear air between the two in the Championship with Edwards now only three points shy of the Aprilia rider in third.

Stephane Chambon continued his 100 per cent finishing rate with a solid run to ninth although for the second race running he had a lonely time of it, slower than the rest of the factory men but quicker than the privateers save for Hodgson while Alex Gramigni completed a highly successful return to the series on his faithful Valli Moto Yamaha by not only rubbishing Juan Borja's 'yellow peril' for the second time in two races but taking a top ten result to boot.

Giovanni Bussei, Robert Ulm, Lucio Pedercini, Steve Martin and Mauro Sanchini completed the point's scorers as once again the 29 bike starting field was stricken by mechanical failures with only 17 riders still running at the finish.

The most significant retiree other than those already mentioned was the second Fuchs Kawasaki of Gregorio Lavilla which parted company in frightening fashion on lap six when the Spaniard was spat over the top of the machine and then beaten up by it as they both entered the Parabolica gravel trap. There was an air of nervousness throughout the WSBK paddock as the man who suffered a terribly painful broken pelvis here last season was stretchered away from the crash but he was later up and abut and despite having several bumps and bruises he was OK.

Another year and another two superb races at Monza despite the re-profiled chicanes which did their best to upset everybody whenever possible. Bayliss now has a modicum of comfort atop the points table as the WSBK circus head to Donington Park, the scene of a truly memorable encounter 12 months ago where the racing world was introduced to the new, improved Neil Hodgson. Another pack of world class wild-card riders await the regulars at the undulating 2.5-mile circuit and May 27th promises to be a day of superb action.