The tall Spaniard, riding a year-old factory Ducati, had his work cut out as he got off the line in fifth place and had to make his way through Haga, Corser, Toseland and World Champ Bayliss to take his tenth WSBK victory.
Commenting on his race win Xaus said, “Long time since I win and I have never won here. I finally got it! Thank you to my wife and my crew, they give me the best. I got a good start and Corser was pushing hard, he had a few moments so people behind could see where there were problems on the track. I have good place and I hope for the same in race two.”
Second place went to the hard riding Noriyuki Haga on the Yamaha Italia machine and Troy Bayliss finished in third place on the Xerox Ducati.
With the changeable weather Haga found track conditions hard to deal with as he explained, “Beginning of the lap the track was unbelievable, really difficult to see if it was wet or dry. Just two laps in I look fro pace of others and where was available to ride on the track. I push and fight with Ruben. My bike have a problem and I can't push anymore. Ruben was very fast and in second race I can beat him!”
Despite recovering from his big crash at Donington Bayliss was still on good form, “Congratulations to Ruben, it has been a little while since he had a win so I'm sure he will enjoy this moment. Tyres wise we honestly didn't have a big choice I think we were all on the same one. I'm not happy with how I rode; I hit some damp patches and had some moments. I just tried to relax and settle for the points; I did better than I did at Donington. Next round I'll give it a bit of a nudge.”
Haga's team-mate Troy Corser who led for a number of laps was disappointed to finish off the podium. He looked strong at the start however he dropped off the pace which usually points to tyre issues.
Off the line it was Corser who got the hole shot ahead of Bayliss and Haga while Xaus went backwards from the front row. It looked like Corser was going to pull away but he never got to make the break. Xaus was on the move and on lap four he took Bayliss and Haga followed him through. One lap later he showed Corser his front wheel and then made a move on him which stuck.
Bayliss was struggling to pass Haga and as he went under him he had a moment which put him wide and lost him the place. Haga was on a charge and managed to pass both Corser and Xaus for the lead on lap seven.
He held P1 for two laps but the Spaniard on his home turf wasn't going to be beaten and re passed him for the lead. Xaus then pulled the pin and extended his lead to 1.997secs over Haga.
As in the tradition in Spain Xaus stopped to light some fireworks but was unable to restart his machine. He had to get pulled back to the pit lane by photographer Kel Edge on his paddock scooter!
WSBK race (1) results – Valencia:
1. Ruben Xaus
2. Noriyuki Haga
3. Troy Bayliss
4. Troy Corser
5. James Toseland
6. Lorenzo Lanzi
7. Michel Fabrizio
8. Max Biaggi
9. Josh Brookes
10. Roberto Rolfo