Spanish thrillers deliver popular victories
After two very different 23-lap races at Valencia local rider Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda Ducati) and championship leader James Toseland (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) scored a win apiece, with Xaus running clear in race one but Toseland
having to fight for every inch of track in race two.
Both races were run in the dry, but the first race was a much trickier affair for all, as the many damp patches off line caught out a lot of riders.
In the championship standings, Toseland now leads Max Biaggi (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) by 13 points.
Eventual winner Xaus was involved in a four-way fight for the win at one stage, but after he broke the challenge of Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) towards the end of a race held in drying conditions, he was a clear winner by almost two seconds.
Behind Haga, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) was an impressive third, with early leader Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia) fourth, and championship leader Toseland fifth, fighting vibrations from a rear tyre which had spun on the rim. Xaus's win was his tenth career SBK victory, and his first since Magny Cours race two, in the 2003 season.
The leading group in a classic race two sometimes featured seven riders, but it finally settled down into a three way fight, with Toseland the victor from a slow stating Biaggi and frequent race leader Haga. A mere 0.375 seconds covered the top three in the second outing, with another race leader, Xaus, slotting in fourth, some six seconds behind.
CORSER FOURTH IN CHAMPIONSHIP BEHIND HAGA
Corser experienced machine difficulties in race two and was forced away from a potential podium to ninth, but he maintained some degree of pressure on the leading bunch all the same, as he sits fourth overall on 101 points, 23 behind Haga. Bayliss, who had won Superpole and looked good for at least one race win at one stage, made mistakes due to an imperfect race set-up, but he scored strongly in both races only two weeks after having his throttle hand little finger amputated. He is fifth in the championship chase, on 90 points. The man only three points behind him is his own team-mate, Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) with race one winner Xaus jumping up to seventh, on 83 points..
BROOKES STARS IN RACE TWO AS NEUKIRCHNER HOLDS STEADY
Aussie rider Joshua Brookes (Alto Evolution Honda) rode strongly from his front row starts to secure two impressive finishes, ninth in race one and seventh in race two, after making adjustments between races. Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Germany) was not on quite such sparkling form this weekend, but he is still eighth overall.
Roberto Rolfo (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) recovered from the disappointment of not making Superpole to record tenth and 12th place finishes respectively. Rolfo is ninth in the standings, on 46 points.
KAWASAKI RIDERS NOT ABLE TO CAPITALIZE ON RACEDAY
Regis Laconi (PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse) recorded 11th and 8th place finishes at Valencia, fighting hard and effectively in race two, and being part of the early leading group. Fonsi Nieto (PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse) expected much from his home race but he struggled from first to last, scoring two DNFs after experiencing set-up and tyre choice issues. Yukio Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) struggled with his frequently injured body at Valencia, and recorded 15th and 13th place results. Michel Fabrizio (DFX Corse Honda) was an impressive seventh in race one and is 11th overall, one up on Brookes, despite their identical points scores.
WORLD SUPERSPORT - SOFUOGLU WAY AHEAD
Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) scored his third race win of the year after another crash-littered Supersport contest, taking a powerfully confident win from his own temporary team-mate, Andrew Pitt. In third place was the aggressive presence of slow starting Gianluca Nannelli (Caracchi Ducati) who rode most of the last lap with one boot hanging off. He hunted down Pitt in the later stages, but Pitt reasserted himself to keep his second place.. Fourth was a slow starting, but rapidly closing, Fabien Foret (Gil Kawasaki).
Three riders with a podium chance crashed out in the same incident, as Pere Riba (Gil Kawasaki) and Kevin Curtain (Yamaha World SSP Team) collided and took out Katsuaki Fujiwara (Althea Honda). Curtain sustained a long cut on his left thigh, in the groin area, and had to be taken to hospital for stitches to be inserted.
In the championship Sofuoglu is only five points from perfection with 95, while Foret's fourth place puts him into overall second again, on 51. Fujiwara, who limped home 18th, is now third in the series, on an unchanged 41 points.
SBK Press Office