Saturday, March 31, 2007

WSBK: Donington Qually - Baylisstic Bayliss

Troy Bayliss destroyed the opposition with a devastating Superpole lap at Donington today, lapping three quarters of a second faster than 2nd-placed Nori Haga.
It was an exciting session, with three crashes amongst the 16 riders who qualified for the 1-lap grid shootout.
Australian Josh Brookes topped the tumbling trio with a jaw-dropping 140mph hop-off. He lowsided just before Schwantz Curve, and slid for quite some time along the grass before coming to rest. Luckily he immediately jumped to his feet.
Roberto Rolfo showed that not every 250GP star can take to Superbikes like a duck to water. He had a simply ludicrous crash on his out-lap, before even starting his timed lap. Outbraking himself into a hairpin, he just ran straight off the track. He sat there spinning his rear tyre until it was buried up to the chain in gravel, then gave up, looking like a right idiot.
The sharpest intake of breath was reserved for Troy Corser. Officially the best Superpole rider, with enough watches to keep a pick-pocket going for weeks, we never expect anything short of brilliance from Corser in qualifying. Starting 2nd-last in Superpole, due to being 2nd-fastest in pre-qualifying, Corser arrived at Redgate, a.k.a. turn one, and immediately hopped off the lowside. He gamely kept his hand on the clutch, bouncing through the gravel attached to the Yamaha, but it was pointless. Luckily for him, he will benefit from new rules saying that if you fall off in Superpole you only go back one row, meaning Corser, who was 2nd in pre-qualifying, goes to the back of the next row, i.e. 8th. (Under previous rules, if you hopped off during your Superpole lap, you would go to 16th regardless of your position in pre-qualifying.)
Riding past his disgruntled fellow Troy, Bayliss put in the fastest lap that a superbike has ever accomplished around Donington. Unless something very strange happens in the races, Bayliss is the one to look out for.

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