Tamada Perfect @Sugo

Glenn le santo
by Glenn le santo
World Superbikes, Sugo, Japan - Race Two

All-Japan Superbike championship rider Makoto Tamada has had a perfect weekend here in Sugo. He was fastest in qualifying, won the Superpole and has finished the weekend with two wins from two races. The entire podium for the second race was made up of All-Japan championship riders, although second place man Hitoyasu Izutsu is riding several WSB races this year. Tamaki Serizawa was third, making it two Kawasakis on the podium. The only other four-cylinder podium place of the season so far was Gregorio Lavilla's third place finish at round one in Valencia, Spain - also on a Kawasaki. Three regulars finished behind the Japanese riders, with Ben Bostrom in fourth, Neil Hodgson in fifth and Troy Corser retaining the championship lead in sixth place.

Not only did the podium belong to Japan in race two but it was also dominated by Dunlop tyres, with the top six riders all racing on Dunlop rubber. Ben Bostrom put his fourth place finish, a marked improvement on ninth in race one, down to a change in rear wheel rim size, "We fitted a 6.00 inch rim for race two, instead of the 6.25 we used in the first race," explained the L&M Ducati rider from the USA, "it made all the difference, race two was a totally different experience. We also changed the front forks." Bostrom had been defending his position from Troy Corser in the first part of the race but had a surprise in store when he looked back in the later stages of the race. "I'd been riding to keep Troy behind me, I was letting the back end hang out to make it hard for him to pass me, and then when I looked for him late on I saw Hodgson instead!"

British Superbike champion Neil Hodgson was very pleased with his performance in Japan today, "I really enjoyed myself today, I feel that I am right on it now, my riding is as good as it was last year and I'm very confident for the rest of the year." It wasn't such a good day for fellow Ducati rider Troy Bayliss, who had been leading the championship before today's racing. He finished race two way back in 15th scoring one championship point. He wouldn't have even made that single point if it hadn't been for GSE Ducati rider James Toseland's misfortune, his clutch failed on the last lap, allowing Bayliss, who he had passed on the previous lap, up a spot. Toseland was obviously gutted to have lost the point like that, if he had stayed ahead of Bayliss it would have made two factory scalps in one day, as he had toasted Colin Edwards in race one. As for the Castrol Honda camp, it was a weekend they'd rather forget.

When asked why the Japanese do so well here at Sugo, their home round, Tamada San answered, "I don't think it is down to circuit knowledge, or anything particular about the track, I think it is a reflection of the very high standard of riding in the All-Japan Superbike series. I am completely confident that I could perform just as well at Donington." Given that Tamada's performance must have done his chances of riding in the World Superbikes a positive boost, that?s a statement we may yet get to see tested in the heat of battle on the rest of the world?s Superbike circuits.

Race result and times

Position Rider Country Manufacturer Total Time1 Tamada JPN Honda 37:43.0332 Izutsu JPN Kaw 37:46.1553 Serizawa JPN Kaw 37:47.3364 Bostrom USA Ducati 37:49.0215 Hodgson GBR Ducati 37:52.0556 Corser AUS Aprilia 37:54.8217 Ryo JPN Suzuki 38:00.5378 Chili ITA Suzuki 38:00.8439 Ito JPN Honda 38:02.12110 Kagayama JPN Suzuki 38:02.267

Championship standings after 4 of 13 rounds

Pos. Rider Brand Points1 Corser Aprilia 1222 Bayliss Ducati 1003 Edwards Honda 804 Bostrom Ducati 745 Chili Suzuki 616 Lavilla Kaw 557 Tamada Honda 508 Hodgson Ducati 499 Yanagawa Kaw 4710 Izutsu Kaw 43
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Glenn le santo
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