Wednesday, January 17, 2007

WSBK: Bayliss Hangs On To Lucky Number

The entry list for the 2007 World Superbike season seems to have revealed that Troy Bayliss will "do a Rossi" and keep his number 21 plate in this year's championship, instead of taking the number 1 plate he has the right to use as World Champion. This is a change from the last time Bayliss won the WSBK title, when he took the #1 plate, but failed to retain it, losing out to Colin Edwards.
Bayliss destroyed the opposition at the recent Pirelli tyre test at Phillip Island, Australia. He was fastest rider on all three days of the test, stamping his authority on this season before it has even begun. The laid-back Aussie is in outstanding form, winning the WSBK title, winning the last race of the MotoGP season (and of the 990cc era) and now topping the testing tables.
His main opposition for the upcoming season seems to be Honda's James Toseland, runner up in the championship last year and also a former WSBK champion. Toseland has been consistently fast in testing, and was clearly getting faster and faster on the Honda last year. Fellow Australian, fellow Troy and fellow WSBK Champion, Troy Corser and his Japanese team-mate Nori Haga are making steady progress on the brand new Yamaha R1, but it wasn't devastatingly quick "out of the box" and still needs a lot of work. Newcomer Max Biaggi has posted some quick times on the Suzuki, and is rarely more than a tenth or two down on his team-mate Kagayama, but still seems to be adjusting to the heavier Superbikes.
Possibly a surprise challenger could be Bayliss's Ducati team-mate Lorenzo Lanzi, who posted the second fastest time on the final day of the Phillip Island Test. It was a surprise to many when Lanzi was re-hired by Ducati despite a year of woeful results (but less of a surprise to the cynics who pointed out the kid's nationality). However, Lanzi was ultra-fast when he first raced a works Ducati, only stuttering after the devastating loss of his father. The Italian team are well known for their family atmosphere, and Lanzi's excellent performance in testing might just show that Ducati have managed to rekindle his confidence.
Despite Neil Hodgson's suspicions, I do not believe that Bayliss is at all scared of having a quick team-mate. Bayliss is not a Michael Schumacher character. He is certainly not known for the German's style of cheating and demanding weak team-mates. If Lanzi is quick, Bayliss will ride quicker, and enjoy doing it. Any man who beats Loris Capirossi on an identical MotoGP Ducati has nothing to fear.

7 comments:

Alessandro Matteucci said...

what's your speculation about Biaggi's 2007 season?


Btwy, I would like to renew my invitation to post something of yours in the PMP blog at least to promote your Armchair Bike Fan blog. As I have already mentioned in the past, I just love your comments on MotoGp and WSB and I really would like to have my "american readers" to know and appreciate your "english" perspective.

Jimmy said...

I think it will be very tough for Biaggi, especially in the superpole 1-lap qualifying. It might be similar to Alex Barros last year, who was very quick in the races but struggled a bit in qualifying.

I might have to think up something to go on the PMP blog closer to the season start. To give my Scottish perspective. :-)

Alessandro Matteucci said...

Scottish? Even better!!!! We are looking forward !!! Yesterday we went to a motorbike show in NY ...nothing similar to what we have in Europe ... it's beyond me!

Jimmy said...

Come on now, what's wrong with a 27bhp, 2000cc V-twin engine bolted to a 400kg frame? :-)

Alessandro Matteucci said...

and even the models ... I created a little contests for the guys ...$150.00 for the best picture of a model at the show and so far nothing to be too excited about. I must say the best looking one was at the Ducati's stand, someone that reminded me Mrs. Capirossi (LOL)

Alessandro Matteucci said...

Jim check this picture ...
http://www.motoblog.it/galleria/big/motogp-test-sepang-foto/9

It seems that these guys are leaning even more than last year. Forget the shoulder of the tire ...now they use the neck!!!

Jimmy said...

That picture's ridiculous. Somebody should tell those guys about the laws of physics!

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