Kyalami Victory to a Twin

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
So we don't spoil things for those of you who've yet to watch the race, we won't tell you who won and who, according to a rather funny press release, suffered "a sudden loss of traction..."

Well, that's it. If you want to read more, then, um, just read more...

Reigning champion Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) extended his winning sequence to six (an all-time WSBK record for the start of season, one victory behind Doug Polen's 1991 record seven-race run) in round 3 of the World Superbike Championship at a scorching Kyalami, South Africa with another extraordinary double victory.

In front of 82,000 fans Bayliss took the lead of race 1 on lap 6 after staying out of trouble behind the front-runners and then battled for much of race 2 with Ducati Infostrada team-mate Ruben Xaus to score his second win of the day and his sixth on the run.

"What can I say? It's been another incredible weekend for me here" declared Bayliss. "I expected a good result but to win like that is just fantastic. We had a perfect package, my Infostrada Ducati has been really good and my Michelins were great, I just couldn't put a foot wrong.

"In race 1 the first three laps were just crazy so I decided to stay out of trouble and then attack after a few laps. My last lap slide was nothing really but I did make a mistake in the chicane when I lost a second and a half. I knew Colin was there but just managed to pull out a gap in the final few laps. In the second race I thought it was Colin behind me for a long time but then I looked behind and it was Ruben, he's like a bulldog, he doesn't give up. I had to do some consistent laps and eventually I got a little break and that was enough."

Ruben Xaus completed the day's triumph for the Ducati Infostrada team with one third and one second place, which moves him up into third in the championship.

The day began badly for Ruben in the warm-up when a misunderstanding with Pierfrancesco Chili (Ducati NCR) led to the Italian crashing out and injuring his collarbone. "Today's races were very hard for me, because of the incident with Chili in the warm-up" said Xaus. "I feel really sorry about his injury because it wasn't anyone's fault.

"In race 1 I had to work hard to find a way past Haga, he wasn't making it easy for me. I braked next to him, went further into the corner, then pulled out a gap and finished in the points. I felt much better in the second race after I used a different sprocket to Troy just to try to have better speed in the corners but it wasn't enough. I think he was waiting for me in the end and then he just pulled away. I was power-sliding already so I settled for second and get some more points. I'm really happy with the weekend because starting from the third row it wasn't easy but I need to clean up my Superpole act! There was nothing I could do against Troy today, he needs to give up racing!"

After taking second place Edwards commented: "I put in all the effort to get pole position yesterday then made a poor start and it cost me, badly. I just didn't get away like I needed to. By the time I was into second place Troy was just that little bit too much ahead."

He continued: "We made a change to the rear tire width from race one, making itwider and it did the job. My race time was faster than race one which shouldhave been enough. But Bayliss and Xaus upped their pace in the second race. I'm feeling very frustrated with it all at the moment.

"We've got a great machine in the SP-2, great tires from Michelin but it'sjust not happening for me right now. I suppose if someone had told me I'dhave five podiums from three rounds and not be closer to the title lead thanI am I wouldn't have believed them."

Bostrom (Ducati L&M) had expected to be up with the front-runners at one of his favorite circuits but after briefly holding the lead in the early laps of race 1, the Californian had to settle for fourth place. Fifth in race 2 was all Bostrom could manage after battling with Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati) and Haga (Aprilia).

"There's not much I can say really, unfortunately it's another race out there. I had a great battle with Haga in race 1 but had no problem passing him. Those first few laps were pretty hectic but we were just unable to keep with those other guys. The bike's perfect, I feel like I'm riding quite well, but for the moment it's still frustrating not to be able to race for the win. Not much to add in race 2, the bike might have been too high because the rear wheel was spinning a lot. Hopefully at Sugo I stand a chance of winning."

RACE 1:1. BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA);2. Edwards (Honda);3. XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA);4. BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M);5. Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati);6. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati)RACE 2:1. BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA);2. XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA);3. Edwards (Honda);4. Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati);5. BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M);6. Haga (Aprilia).CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after 3 of 13 rounds):1. Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) 150 pts;2. Edwards (Honda) 105;3. XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 79;4. BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) 77;5. Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati) 69;6. Haga (Aprilia) 60; etc.
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