Pierfrancesco Chili scored his first victory of the 2001 World Superbike Championship in fine style at Donington Park on Sunday as he fended off Neil Hodgson and Troy Corser in a fantastic race-long scrap.
He may not be British but Pierfrancesco Chili is the next best thing to the passionate 'home' fans at the picturesque 2.5-mile Donington Park circuit even after denying Neil Hodgson a last gasp double victory to take his, and the new Suzuki's first World Superbike Race win.
Pierfrancesco Chili led the final three laps of Sunday's 25-lap second race from GSE Racing's Neil Hodgson and Aprilia's Troy Corser to take an emotional first Donington Park victory in his storied WSBK career.
Chili was simply mesmerising as he hunted down Hodgson and Corser, eventually ducking underneath Hodgson at the Melbourne Loop on lap 23 and then holding off a concerted last lap effort from Race One winner Hodgson who got alongside the Suzuki on the back-straight and going into Goddard's for the final time, both to no avail.
Just half a second covered the top three as they crossed the line after a thrilling race in which all three riders held the lead at some point although Hodgson did the majority of the leading and looked the strongest man on the track until his costly error at Melbourne.
Chili has now scored points in every race this year while Hodgson took just his second double finish of the year. Corser made further inroads into Troy Bayliss' Championship lead with another solid podium finish after making the wrong tyre choice in race one.
Ben Bostrom rode well with his shoulder and knee problems to take fourth place from a fired up John Reynolds who finally found some good luck to claim fifth spot. Colin Edwards once again struggled to find grip on the Castrol Honda and fell to sixth after leading the opening lap while Tadayuki Okada finished closely behind his team leader in seventh.
Akira Yanagawa, Troy Bayliss and Ruben Xaus completed the top ten but sadly Steve Hislop and James Toseland both retired from the race before half distance.