Monday, September 08, 2008

WSBK: Bayliss and Kiyo Win At Soggy Donington

Troy Bayliss and Ryuichi Kiyonari took the victories in the European round of the World Superbike championship at Donington Park. The British wildcards also put in a strong showing in the changeable weather conditions.

Race 1
Although the weather was unpredictable from one minute to the next, it was surprisingly dry when the first race started. Former British Superbike champion Ryuichi Kiyonari took the lead on his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda. BSB regular Tom Sykes briefly took second place on his Rizla Suzuki, but was soon overtaken by Troy Bayliss on the Xerox Ducati, who was determined to finally score a victory on his last ever visit to the track. Bayliss took the lead when Kiyonari pushed too hard on the greasy track and lowsided out of the race at the Old Hairpin. Sykes was not prepared to watch the Australian disappear, and he passed Bayliss, then proceeded to pull out a lead of over three seconds.

Unfortunately, Santander Yamaha rider Noriyuki Haga was having one of his bad weekends. His engine blew up and started spewing smoke. Incredibly, the Japanese star did not pull over, but trundled round for most of the lap, even though he had clearly seen the blue smoke pouring from the bike. As he rounded Coppice corner, treacherous enough in the dry, some oil leaked out onto the track. It was invisible in the damp conditions, and riders started flying over handlebars like some kind of rodeo competition. Troy Corser highsided for approximately the sixth time of the weekend, and stumbled off in great pain. Makoto Tamada, who has been all but invisible on the Kawasaki this year, decided that he would like to feature in a few more crash videos. The ex-MotoGP race winner flew off his bike in a massive highside that saw the green machine flip expensively over and over. Carlos Checa joined in the fun with his second crash of the race (what can you say? The guy has class). Alstare Suzuki star Max Neukirchner dared to be different by falling off at another corner.

The race was red-flagged, and everybody who had fallen off was barred from re-starting. We would have an aggregate race! The times from the two halves of the race would be added together, meaning that the positions on track did not necessarily bear any relation to the positions in the official standings. Woo-hoo!

That was the taster. Read my whole review of the Donington Park round of the World Superbike championship at Motorbikesport to find out what happened in the second part of race 1, and in the wet race 2.

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