A Double Win at Monza For...

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Today, at Monza, somebody won both races. In the first race, it was a fierce three-rider battle to the finish.

At the end of it all, the points are closer than ever and the rest of the season should be a real barn-burner. Read on to find out who did what today...

Defending champion Troy Bayliss won both races of Sunday’s fifth round ofthe World Superbike championship at Monza in Italy as Castrol Honda's ColinEdwards finished in third and second places to maintain his title challenge.

Bayliss won an opening race dominated by an exciting three-way fight betweenthe Australian, Edwards and Ducati privateer Neil Hodgson. After 18 laps of190mph slipstreaming it was Bayliss who was in the right place at the righttime on the final lap to take his third successive Monza win.

Hodgson held out for second place with Edwards completing the rostrum onlya fourth place in the opening round of the year at Valencia, Spain hasprevented Edwards from climbing the podium after every race this year.

“The race was more or less as expected but I didn’t have the extra littlebit I needed to make the move on Hodgson and Bayliss,” said Edwards. “It wasa disappointment not to have won. I thought I was in with a good chance inthe early stages of the race but it just didn1t work out for me.”

Pier-Francesco Chili bounced back from a broken shoulder sustained inSouth Africa five weeks ago to take fourth place with young British Ducatirider James Toseland fifth, the highest finish of his career.

Ducati’s Ruben Xaus rode a lonely race to sixth place, once he’d movedthrough from 17th place on the grid after problems in qualifying. Suzuki1sGregorio Lavilla won a three-way battle for seventh, edging out Ducatiprivateer Alessandro Antonello and Kawasaki replacement rider Eric Bostrom.

Bayliss’s victory in the second outing of the day came in differentcircumstances as Aprilia's Noriyuki Haga joined the battle for the lead and while he,Edwards and Hodgson did battle, Bayliss took the chance to ease away andopen up a rare advantage.

The lead became unassailable for SP-2 rider Edwards as he finally shook offthe challenge of Hodgson and Haga to take runner-up place, riding adefensive and spectacular last lap as he slid the machine sideways throughthe Curve Grande to hold off the chasing duo.

”I was determined to try and make up for third place in the opening race bywinning the second,” said Edwards. “I think Haga, Hodgson and me messed eachother up and let Bayliss get away at the front. The Monza races are always atactical battle out on the track and while I got into the middle of thefight for the lead Bayliss made the break, at exactly the same time. We’veworked hard this weekend but, in the end, I suppose victory wasn't to be.”

Edwards added: “Everyone's getting worked up about the championshipsituation but there’s five of 13 rounds gone. At this stage last year I had130 points, this year I’ve got 186 so I know I’m still well capable of beingworld champion and we’ve 16 races to go -- that’s a lot of racing miles.”

Haga blasted out of the Parabolica final corner on the final lap to moveahead of Hodgson on the run to the finish line to grab third place -- hisfourth podium finish of the year.

Lavilla improved a position on his first race display with fifth, takingadvantage as Chili and Toseland crashed out at the first chicane on lap six.Lavilla's fifth place came after the Spaniard held off Lucio Pedercini andEric Bostrom in a final lap, three-way tussle.

Superbike leg-1:1.BAYLISS Troy (Ducati) in 32'34.429;2.HODGSON Neil (Ducati) at 0.259;3.EDWARDS Colin (Honda) at 0.576;4.CHILI Pierfrancesco (NCR Ducati Axo) at 6.422;5.TOSELAND James (Ducati) at 18.860;6.XAUS Ruben (Ducati) at 27.528;7.LAVILLA Gregorio (Suzuki) at 38.264;8.ANTONELLO Alessandro (Ducati) at 38.642;9.BOSTROM Eric (Kawasaki) at 38.745;10.MARTIN Steve (Ducati) at 56.182Superbike leg-2:1.BAYLISS Troy in 32'51.693;2.EDWARDS Colin at 2.226;3.HAGA Noryiuki (Aprilia) at 2.267;4.HODGSON Neil at 2.291;5.LAVILLA Gregorio at 21.844;6.PEDERCINI Lucio (Ducati) at 21.958;7.BOSTROM Eric at 22.333;8.PARKES Broc (NCR Ducati Parmalat) at 34.485;9.BOSTROM Ben (Ducati) at 34.542;10.WALKER Chris (Kawasaki) at 3.622World Championship pointstanding:1.BAYLISS Troy 224 points;2.EDWARDS Colin 186;3.HODGSON Neil 131;4.HAGA Noryiuki 103;5.BOSTROM Ben 102;
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