Winston Ten Kate's Chris Vermeulen showed the entire field a clean pair of heels for the first race of the final round of the Corona Extra World Superbike Championship at Magny Cours in France.
He finished 8.2secs ahead of the hard charging Yukio Kagayama on the Alstare Corona Extra Suzuki and a good 13.336secs ahead of third place man, James Toseland on the Xerox Ducati.
Vermeulen had been keen to make a break for it and said he would do the same again if he can “If I can do it again I'll be happy! But these guys won't make it easy so we shall see.” The temperatures at Magny Cours have increased and tyre choice for race two could make a big difference, “It could be hotter later on and the only time it was similar was yesterday afternoon. It should be ok but it will be a hard race, Yuki kept me on it for quite a while in that one,” concluded Vermeulen.
Yukio Kagayama was pleased to be back on the podium “Podium is good, but little late in season, season finish. Everyone do a good job this weekend, hard job but everyone helped me back to the podium, so thank you.”
Toseland had an epic battle on his hands with Vermeulen's team-mate and fellow Aussie, Karl Muggeridge. Muggeridge hasn't been on the podium all year and he was riding hard for third place, however Toseland was not letting him have it his own way and there was some serious fairing bashing going on. “It was a close battle and I'm riding for my career so it was going to get close,”said Toseland “He was hard but fair and we risked crashing, but it was a great battle and I wasn't going to finish fourth.”
Toseland's team-mate Regis Laconi has opted not to race this weekend as the hard braking and tight right handers of Magny Cours have taken their toll on his injured arm.
New World Champion, Troy Corser managed to battle from fifteenth on the grid to fifth over all. Not the result he had hoped for but still an impressive result. He said of this season and his new title “I have so many people to thank, I've gone from the bottom of my career back up to the top and it is great to be back on top.” With another race to go and starting form fifteenth place on the grid he is still hoping for a podium “Nothing is out of the question. Francis Batta offered to pay me double if I get on the podium!” he joked. “I got held up and it is hard to pass here, I also had a bit of wheel spin so I need more drive in the next one. We'll see how we go,” he concluded.
Chris Walker battled hard all race and held third place for a long time until Muggeridge and Toseland pushed past him, this allowed the other riders to follow. The Petronas camp had a poor result with Martin coming in with a technical and Notman crashing.
WSBK race one results – Magny Cours: