Alstare Corona Extra Suzuki's reigning World Superbike champion, Troy Corser, put on a superb display to beat countryman Troy Bayliss during a nail biting conclusion to race two of the 2006 Qatar season opener.

Both riders had to work their way to the front and the action went down to the wire with Bayliss and Corser passing one another numerous times on the very last lap. The red paint from Bayliss' Xerox Ducati must be all over Corser yellow Suzuki, they were so close to one another.

Behind them, Noriyuki Haga took up residence in third place for solid points, after having crashed out of race one when he hit leader Yukio Kagayama on the last lap. Once again the Yamahas came on strong at the start of the race with Haga and Pitt running first and second, however they both started to fade as the race progressed.

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Indeed, Haga looked likely to lose his podium place as Winston Ten Kate's James Toseland - the race one winner - muscled past the Japanese in the last corner, but Haga slipstreamed back ahead by just 0.001sec at the flag.

"He (Toseland) pass me last lap last corner and I try to close door but my tire is finished," explained Haga. "After I use his slipstream and I look for the finish line but I can't see if me first or James first."

As for the crash in race one, Haga held his hands up and took the blame: "First race was one hundred percent my mistake. Any rider last lap pushing hard and I was pushing hard to pass Yukio. I crash, my bike hit Yukio and he also crash. Katsuaki Fujiwara also crash in Supersport - is bad corner for Japanese rider," he joked.

Bayliss, who is now leading the championship standings after his two second place finishes added: "I told everyone not to underestimate anybody in this field. I'm reasonably happy with how things went," he commented. "I gave it my all in race two but my timing was a bit off on the last corner, but congratulations to Troy (Corser)."

The #21 admitted he is looking forward to going down under to Phillip Island next weekend - but when asked if he enjoyed winning at his home circuit he quipped: "I enjoy winning anywhere! If you put the race wins together then the championship comes along."

Race one saw Corser finish off the podium which is unusual, as it turned out he was having clutch problems: "We are using a different clutch to last year. All went well with it in testing and it was fine all through practice and qualifying. But I must have over worked it on the line and it was spinning up along the straight." So as well as riding hard Corser had to tighten the clutch up on the adjuster.

The double world champion had a similar concern in race two and had to nurse it home with Bayliss hot on his tail. "I knew someone was behind me and I could hear the bike, but I was still trying to fix the clutch. So I knew I could make no mistakes," he said. Just to add to the drama he lost the front which allowed Bayliss past, however Bayliss left the turn a bit wide and Corser squeezed through the gap - as he put it "That's racing."

Further back, former MotoGP ace Alex Barros - now on a Klaffi Honda - had another impressive ride, which could have been even better if he had got off the line. At the start of the race he dropped to twentieth but gamely cut through the competition to finish in seventh.

The injured Ruben Xaus had an excellent race from twenty first to tenth place. He is still recovering from a badly broken left leg which he sustained pre season when he landed heavily from a motocross jump. His aim this year is to be competitive and is certainly looks like he is heading that way.

There were quite a few fallers during race two and Yukio Kagayama had an excursion across the gravel too. Regis Laconi crashed on lap three, Craig Jones low sided on lap six, Max Neukirchner on lap nine and Frankie Chili had a big off on lap ten - all appeared to be ok.

WSBK race (2) results - Qatar:

1.Troy Corser
2.Troy Bayliss
3.Noriyuki Haga
4.James Toseland
5.Andrew Pitt
6.Lorenzo Lanzi
7.Alex Barros
8.Michel Fabrizio
9.Karl Muggeridge
10.Ruben Xaus

Louise Cain