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WSBK: wet results at Donington Park

Less than half of the field finish first race

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Sep. 09, 2008
Troy Bayliss and Ryuichi Kiyonari split a pair of wins in a wet weekend of World Superbike racing at Donington Park in North West Leicestershire, England Sept. 7.

Ducati Xerox’s Bayliss finished on top in race one, which saw more than half of the field fail to reach the finish.

Bayliss started the race at the pole after winning a rain-shortened Superpole. Several riders fell in the opening laps as the track started to dry out. Bayliss lost the lead to wildcard entrant Tom Sykes after nine laps when the race was red flagged due an oil spill.

The race restarted from the grid with Bayliss in second and Suzuki’s Sykes on the pole. The two riders battled for the lead along with another wildcard entrant, British Superbike rider Leon Haslam competing for Honda.

Three laps into the restart, Bayliss was again on top with Haslam in second, but in the following lap, Haslam fell out of contention in a crash. He was able to remount but could not catch up to the leaders.

Wet conditions made the Donington races tricky. Michel Fabrizio (left) and Max Neukirchner both crashed out of race one.Heavy rain forced officials to call the race at only 19 of the planned 23 laps. Bayliss held off Sykes to earn his first career victory at Donington Park. Sykes followed 1.266 seconds behind while Sterilgarda Go Eleven’s Max Biaggi followed in third. Only 14 of 33 riders completed the race.

“I’ve been coming to Donington since 1998 and so am pretty happy with that race win,” says Bayliss. “All weekend everything has been going great, we’ve had mixed conditions but we’ve been strong in both dry and wet. I was basically racing my lapboard the whole time because of the aggregate time and could have settled for second but I haven’t won here before and so really wanted the win”

The second race was delayed by more rain but once it began, Bayliss was competing for the lead, this time against Ten Kate Honda’s Kiyonari and another wildcard entrant, Honda rider Cal Crutchlow. The rain eased up as the race continued but on lap 11, Bayliss pressed a little too hard, losing traction in the rear and crashing.

Kiyonari, who was one of the first riders to crash out of race one, led every lap in the second race for the win, beating Crutchlow by 2.261 seconds.

Series leader Troy Bayliss was one of the fortunate few to finish the first race. He wasn't so lucky in the second.“I was so disappointed to crash in race one. I got an incredible start, which is unusual for me and maybe I was a little too excited. I was so sorry for my team who worked so hard to give me a good bike for dry conditions, even though we had no dry practice,” says Kiyonari. “For the second race, I was actually quite pleased it rained, because we knew the bike was good in the wet. But the conditions were unbelievable in the early part of the race. I had very little control and, by the time the track started to improve, my tires were finished. It was a little scary at times, but I’m very happy to repay the team with another win.”

Troy Corser finished third to salvage the weekend for the Yamaha Motor Italia team. Corser crashed before the red flag in race one and was not allowed to restart. Meanwhile, his teammate, Noriyuki Haga was penalized in race one for not stopping his machine soon enough after it began to leak oil. In the second race, Haga was blackflagged after mistiming a ride-through penalty.

Corser’s podium finish bumped him into second place ahead of Team Alstare Suzuki’s Max Neukirchner. Bayliss however still holds a commanding lead, 101 points ahead of Corser with six races remaining.

The World Superbike series continues Sept. 21 at the Vallelunga Circuit in Rome, Italy.

World Superbike top five standings
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1st Troy Bayliss Ducati 1098 F08 359
2nd Troy Corser Yamaha YZF-R1 258
3rd Max Neukirchner Suzuki GSX-R1000 254
4th Carlos Checa Honda CBR1000RR 240
5th Noriyuki Haga Yamaha YZF-R1 230