World Superbike Phillip Island 2008 wrap.
Ducati’s Troy Bayliss has farewelled Phillip Island in spectacular fashion with a clean sweep in round two of the 2008 Superbike World Championship
Ducati’s Troy Bayliss has farewelled Phillip Island in spectacular fashion with a clean sweep in round two of the Superbike World Championship. The dual world champion, who will retire at the end of the year, dominated both races on his factory Ducati, and already holds a commanding lead in the championship after just two of 15 rounds.
“It’s been an incredible weekend,” said Bayliss. “Sure, there have been a few ups and downs, including my crash yesterday, but it’s a dream to score a double win on my last ride here.
“And to win with a margin to spare in both races was awesome. I do enough fighting throughout the year, so to have a break over the opposition is good. I hope everyone had a great weekend, because I certainly did.”
The clean sweep was Bayliss’ second at Phillip Island, which has already helped him engineer a 27-point (88 to 61) lead in the championship over Suzuki’s Fonsi Nieto, followed by Ruben Xaus (Ducati, 59), Troy Corser (Yamaha, 45) and Carlos Checa (Honda, 45). Bayliss sauntered to victory in race one, leading all the way to win by 4.221 seconds from Corser and Italy’s Michel Fabrizio. His only real concern in the 22-lapper was when Max Biaggi (Ducati) closed to within a second and a half with six laps remaining, before the Italian crashed at Turn 10.
Biaggi also crashed in race two at 280km/h, ending a dirty day for the Roman gladiator. Following Biaggi’s demise, Bayliss increased his lead to over eight seconds before easing off the throttle in the last few laps. “We picked the fatty – that’s what we call the tyre – for today,” said Bayliss. “And we were okay on the sides, but on the front we did not have much left. “On the last five or six laps, I was lucky Max went down, as I had nothing left. I’m very happy, as my team built me a brand new bike overnight, it was wrecked after yesterday.”
While Bayliss was in firm control, Corser spent most of the race fighting for position with Fabrizio, Neukirchner, Checa, Xaus and Nieto. Corser only managed to pull clear of the scrum in the last couple of laps, leaving Fabrizio and Xaus bickering for the final spot on the podium.
“It was a tough race,” said Corser. After the first start, I was happy, and then we had to do it all again. But I did not have the side grip on my tyres, especially around Southern Loop and at Siberia. “I was down and I pushed really hard. I was lighting up the bike all the way.”
Fabrizio got the better of Xaus after a number of fairing clashes, leaving Xaus in fourth from Nieto, Checa and Neukirchner. Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha), Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) and Roberto Rolfo (Honda) saw out the top 10. Australian Honda duo Karl Muggeridge (Honda) and Russell Holland (Honda) were 12th and 17th respectively. Bayliss defeated Checa by just over one second in race two, with Nieto making it two Spanish riders on the podium. The path was clear for Bayliss to wrest control after arch-rival Corser crashed at Turn Six, followed by Biaggi’s demise three laps later.
Checa’s first podium in world Superbike was well deserved. He moved into second position on lap 11, and spent the second half with clear air in front of him but unable to put the squeeze on Bayliss. “When I got to second I though I could catch Troy. But then I thought, ‘it’s the last race for Troy I will let him win here’,” Checa joked.
Meanwhile, Nieto pushed aside Xaus in the last five laps to solidify his hold on third spot. Holland and Muggeridge were ninth and 10th, behind a tight bunch that netted positions 5-8 – Neukirchner, Haga, Kiyonari and Gregorio Lavilla (Honda).
Round three of the Superbike World Championship will be held at Valencia in Spain from April 4-6.
WORLD SUPERBIKE RESULTS
RACE ONE: 22 LAPS
1 Troy Bayliss, Australia, Ducati
2 Troy Corser, Australia, Yamaha + 4.221 seconds
3 Michel Fabrizio, Italy, Ducati + 4.738
4 Ruben Xaus, Spain, Ducati + 5.171
5 Fonsi Nieto, Spain, Suzuki + 5.543
6 Carlos Checa, Spain, Honda + 5.895
7 Max Neukirchner, Germany Suzuki + 5.964
8 Noriyuki Haga, Japan, Yamaha + 14.826
9 Ryuichi Kiyonari, Japan, Honda + 18.899
10 Robert Rolfo, Italy, Honda + 20.633
12 Karl Muggeridge, Australia, Honda + 29.281
17 Russell Holland, Australia, Honda + 50.107
Fastest lap: Bayliss – 1:32.516 on lap four
RACE TWO: 22 LAPS
2 Checa + 1.127
3 Nieto + 4.395
4 Xaus + 6.621
5 Neukirchner + 11.550
6 Kiyonari + 11.620
7 Haga + 12.049
8 Gregorio Lavilla, Spain, Honda + 12.134
9 Holland + 13.462
10 Muggeridge + 15.519
Fastest lap: Max Biaggi (Italy, Ducati) – 1:33.477 on lap six
WORLD SUPERBIKE STANDINGS (AFTER TWO OF 15 ROUNDS)
1 Bayliss 88pts
2 Nieto 61
3 Xaus 59
=4 Corser 45
=4 Checa 45
6 Neukirchner 39
7 Biaggi 36
8 Fabrizio 34
9 Haga 22
10 Lavilla 18
16 Muggeridge 10
18 Holland 7