Phillip Island World Superbike 2008 preview
World Superbike star, Australia’s Troy Bayliss is determined to go out on a high at his beloved Phillip Island when round two of the 2008 Superbike World Championship is held this weekend.
World Superbike star, Australia’s Troy Bayliss is determined to go out on a high at his beloved Phillip Island when round two of the Superbike World Championship is held this weekend (February 29- March 2).
The decorated Australian will retire at the end of the year, but now has one last chance to show his rivals his race winning style around the spectacular 4.448km seaside circuit. Impressive in last weekend’s opening round in Qatar on his all new factory Ducati 1098, Bayliss won the opening race and was fourth in the second showdown.
He leads the championship with a two point break over Max Biaggi going into Australia’s round two. But he’s got a cluster of hard-chargers determined to spoil a fairytale swansong, including fellow Australian Troy Corser (Yamaha) who has amassed a record seven world superbike wins at the island over his career. Corser set a red-hot pace in Qatar’s thrilling opening round last weekend, qualified fastest, took third in race one, and it was only excessive tyre wear which stopped him finishing on the podium in race two – a situation he hopes to remedy in the cooler conditions forecast at Phillip Island.
Ducati teammates Biaggi and Ruben Xaus also started their campaigns in style – with a 2nd and a 3rd for Biaggi, and a 2nd and 4th placing for Xaus; while Suzuki’s Fonsi Nieto charged to victory in race two – his first win in the production-based class. Nieto’s teammate Max Neukirchner also showed that he’s the real deal on the factory Suzuki equipment, while Honda’s new recruit Carlos Checa will be looking to crank it up another notch after an abbreviated pre-season.
Yamaha’s world No. 2 Noriyuki Haga struggled in Qatar last weekend, but he’s too good not to bounce back hard back at Phillip Island, while Australians Russell Holland Karl Muggeridge (both Honda) will appreciate the local support in the two 22-lap races. In the major support class of world Supersport, an ensemble cast of Aussies will compete at Phillip Island: Qatar victor Broc Parkes (Yamaha),
Triumph duo Mark Aitchison and Garry McCoy and Honda pair Andrew Pitt and Josh Brookes. The quintet has all won races at Phillip Island, across both domestic and international events. The three-day event will be a non-stop procession of on-track action, with the two international classes to be joined by four national support categories: Superbike, Supersport, Superstock and the Period 4 & Period 5 Challenge.
On Friday, highlights include world superbike and world supersport first qualifying; on Saturday second qualifying and the hot lap Superpole for final qualifying and on Sunday, six races, including two 22 lap world superbike battles and one 21 lap world supersport race.
EVENT INFORMATION AND TICKET PRICES
Tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster 7 on 1300 136 122 or from the circuit 03 5952 2710.
For campsite bookings and full details on all ticket options, call the Superbike Hotline on (03) 5952 2710 – or visit the website on www.phillipislandcircuit.com.au
Ticket prices are as follows
2008 WORLD SUPERBIKE STANDINGS (after 1 of 15 rounds):
1 Troy Bayliss (Ducati) – 38pts
2 Max Biaggi (Ducati) – 36
3 Fonsi Nieto (Suzuki) – 34
4 Ruben Xaus (Ducati) – 33
5 Troy Corser (Yamaha) – 25
6 Max Neukirchner (Suzuki) – 19
7 Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) – 18
8 Carlos Checa (Honda) – 15
9 Jakub Smrz (Ducati) – 13
10 Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) – 10