From the outset it looked like Troy Bayliss had race one of round eleven of the Corona Extra Superbike World Championship wrapped up. He pulled a lead of 3.233secs just five laps in however he had pushed his tyres too hard too soon and by lap fourteen he had Haga for company.
Haga reeled in Bayliss and sprinted away to take a well earned win. Second place went to Max Biaggi on the Alstare Corona Extra Suzuki who had a big fight on his hands due to Troy Corser trying to take second place from him. The Roman kept the Australian at bay and Corser had to settle for third place.
Following the race Haga said, “Today I didn't make crazy riding. I make a good start but Bayliss had gone by about 3secs. I try to catch him, it was difficult at the beginning but I push more every lap. I believe in my hard front tyre and by mid laps Bayliss slow down and I catch him. I am happy for the result, my team work hard and I am comfortable riding – thank you team. I will do my best in race two.” He dedicated his win to a friend who was killed whilst test riding in Japan.
“We didn't have a bad set- up for the dry and not so bad a rhythm,” said Biaggi of his race, “We had a little problem in qualifying which put me seventh on the grid. I want 25 points in race two so I need to win. Both the Yamahas had a very strong rhythm; they have found a good set-up. Troy Corser was fast in warm-up and I could hear his exhaust close to my bike. I try not to make a mistake.”
Corser had a close call through turn one but thankfully he managed to save it. He explained what happened, “We changed the bike after warm-up and it was stronger than I had expected. I got the bike on the side of the tyre and it accelerated more than expected and the back tyre stepped out. Once I had caught the Kawasakis and Neukirchner I pushed hard. The bike was getting better and better and I knew my tyre was better than the guys in front. I thought I could catch Max but the Suzuki was really fast on the straights. I couldn't push any harder or I would have crashed. If I can get off the line in race two I can challenge for the win.”
Bayliss got a blistering start and disappeared leaving Haga, Nieto, Biaggi and Toseland chasing him. Lap one saw Toseland have a big out-of-the-seat moment which allowed Ruben Xaus to get by him and pushed him back to sixth place. Biaggi wasted no time and took Nieto as did Xaus, who put quite a forceful move on his fellow Spaniard forcing him to lift his machine up.
Xaus was all over the back of Biaggi trying to take third place, however he pushed too hard and lost the front on lap four. Young German rider, Max Neukirchner was looking impressive and running in sixth place when he over cooked it and crashed on lap six. Toseland was up to fourth place on lap seven but that didn't last as Corser picked him off. Michel Fabrizio was now on the back of Toseland and on lap nine he made his move. Sadly for Fabrizio he crashed one lap later, he did pick his machine up in the hope of restarting but dropped it in disgust at the feet of a Marshall when it became clear that re-starting wasn't an option.
By now Haga was closing down on Bayliss and on lap fourteen Haga slip streamed him over the start finish line. Bayliss did his best to keep the chasing pack at bay but on lap twenty both Biaggi and Corser who were pushing hard, and they caught him. The battle was now on for second place with Biaggi making life as difficult as possible for the Australian. Biaggi held it to the line for second place.
Bayliss sadly finished in fourth place just ahead of Hannspree Ten Kate Honda's Roberto Rolfo. The PSG-1 Kawasakis who had started from first and second on the grid ended the race in sixth and seventh with Regis Laconi finishing ahead of his team-mate Fonsi Nieto.
Lorenzo Lanzi was unable to repeat his winning form in Germany and had to settle for eighth place ahead of the Championship leader James Toseland who was ninth. Toseland appeared to have tyre issues from the start as he wasn't as committed into the corners as most of his rivals and he simply looked uncomfortable. The final place in the top ten went to Karl Muggeridge on the Alto Evolution Honda.
WSBK race results (1) – EuroSpeedway:
1. Noriyuki Haga
2. Max Biaggi
3. Troy Corser
4. Troy Bayliss
5. Roberto Rolfo
6. Regis Laconi
7. Fonsi Nieto
8. Lorenzo Lanzi
9. James Toseland
10. Karl Muggeridge