Ducati riding World Champion Troy Bayliss yet again proved himself to be class of the field in the second race today at Kyalami.

The Australian now finds himself firmly ensconced in the record books. Prior to today the most races won in a row in the World Superbike championship was five, scored first by World Superbikes legend Carl Fogarty and repeated by American Ben Bostrom. The most victories scored consecutively at the start of a season was four.

Both Noriyuki Haga and Ruben Xaus tried to displace the Australian World Champ from the lead, and Haga even lead for a good few laps early on, but at the end of the second race today, Bayliss had raised both records to six wins.

Though the latter part of the race was the familiar Ducati/Bayliss promotional run, the majority of the race was action at every corner. At the start, Bayliss streaked into the lead only to be set about by Noriyuki Haga. The Japanese rider saw fit to vent his frustration and aggression from his first race exit on the Ducati rider. Haga physically pushed and elbowed Bayliss out of the way to force his way to the front. Bayliss even momentarily took his attention away from the track to look around to see what on earth the Aprilia rider was playing at.

And so the two were to battle tooth and nail for the first couple of laps. Back and forth the lead changed. 'Nitro Nori' was most determined to be in front and take the early advantage that his Dunlops offer. And by the second lap the Aprilia rider was doing just that and beginning to get a lead.

Further down the field and team-mate to Bayliss in the Ducati Infostrada team, Ruben Xaus, had powered his way up from his lowly 11th place on the grid to get him into fifth place by lap two. Colin Edwards found himself sitting in third place watching Bayliss getting left behind by the Japanese Aprilia rider, Haga, and receiving rather a lot of early attention from Brit Neil Hodgson on the HM Plant Ducati.

By lap three Haga was really stretching his lead and almost to show that he really as pushing, managed to throw up some dirt on to the track. Ruben Xaus was by this time harrying Hodgson for the fourth place found his way past on this lap. Hodgson fought back, briefly, but his efforts were merely to put him briefly in the grasp of Ben Bostrom.

Haga in this early streak into the lead beat his fastest time around the circuit, but Bayliss kept him in sight, closing in again and letting Haga know that he was there. Behind them Ruben Xaus continued his march to the South African front and muscled his way through past Edwards.

And when it came it was very easy. Bayliss seemed to just power his way past Noriyuki Haga. The determined Japanese rider kept the battle with Bayliss for a couple of laps but was soon being homed in on by the young Ruben Xaus.

By lap eight the top ten lined up: Bayliss, Haga, Xaus, Edwards, Hodgson, Bostrom, Izutsu, Toseland, Walker and Lavilla. Xaus, continuing his impressive rise through the field, and overtook Haga, seemingly with ease. The front three, Bayliss, Xaus and Haga found themselves with a comfortable gap from the following pack of three who were, in turn, also quite comfortably ahead of the following rabble.

And so the race settled down. Xaus keeping Bayliss honest at the head of the field. The Spaniard looking close enough to make a move but never making any move of any real conviction. Haga was to find his tyres loosing their bite and the streetfighter from the early laps was to fall back through the field, though all credit due, the Japanese rider did not give up any of his positions without a real fight.

After the second race Castrol Honda SP2 rider Colin Edwards had said that he was getting bored of being in second place. And in the second race at Kyalami he found his time in the one-from-top place was all too short. As seems to be becoming the case this season it was rather a low-key effort from the Texan. Not quite fast enough to challenge for a whole race at the head of the field, yet certainly fast enough to ensure a podium finish.

The other lead American, Ben Bostrom, was running a curiously subdued effort. A fighting effort in the first couple of the corners and a couple of looks at a pass during the course of the race are not the fighting performance that is expected from the L & M Ducati rider. Neil Hodgson, on the other hand, had a far better race and scored a good fourth place, and it even looked like he might be able to take the battle for the final podium place to Colin Edwards' Honda.

Haga eventually finished in sixth place and had to content himself with playing to the crowd with burnouts and other party pieces on his in lap. Behind him was fellow Japanese rider, Hitoyasu Izutsu, the first four-cylinder rider home on the Kawasaki. Just behind him was young Brit James Toseland on the other HM Plant Ducati.

Chris Walker put on another measured performance to come home in ninth place and must surely be wishing that his Bells Palsy demons hurry up and vanish so he can start riding again like he really wants to. The solitary Suzuki of Spaniard Juan Bautista Borja rounded off the top ten.


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