In Qatar World Superbike opener
Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) and Fonsi Nieto (Alstare Suzuki) shared the wins in two exciting races in the opening round of the HANNspree Superbike World Championship in Qatar.
Australia's double WSBK champion Bayliss had the honour
of scoring the Ducati 1098's maiden victory in the first encounter, while Spaniard Nieto picked up his first race win since 2003 on the Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Bayliss had to work hard for the win from eighth place on the opening lap. He put his wheels on the edge a few times as he made his way to the front and then had a terrific duel with Max Biaggi (Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati) on the final lap to seal victory.
The Italian, in front from lap 12 to 17, went slightly wide and had to settle for second. Third went to poleman Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia), who ran in the top 3 throughout, while Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda Go Eleven) made it three 1098s in the top 4. Max Neukirchner looked impressive on the Alstare Suzuki, leading for most of the first half of the race, eventually finishing fifth ahead of Carlos Checa (HANNspree Ten Kate Honda), while Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) had a nasty high-side on lap 7.
"I guess it was special to take the 1098 to its first win and it's the first time I've had a win here at Losail", declared Bayliss. "I thought it was going to be between me, Troy and Nori, but Neukirchner surprised me and Max did a good job as well. It was a hard race, I got a terrible start and had to really ride hard to get to the front. I made a couple of mistakes, eventually when I reached Max I was on the limit. Then it was a matter of playing our cards, he went a bit wide and that gave me the advantage to come home to the finish line".
The second race win saw a battle up front between Corser, who led for nine laps before fading, Biaggi, Xaus and Nieto, with Bayliss not far behind. Max and Ruben both had spells in the lead but neither were able to shake off Nieto, who took over at the front with three laps to go. The Spaniard went on to take his first-ever WSBK win, ahead of his compatriot Xaus and Biaggi. The two factory Ducati riders Bayliss and Fabrizio were fourth and fifth, with Corser finishing sixth.
"It's nice for me, I haven't won for four years and I'm really happy", said Nieto. "When I arrived in World Superbike it was really difficult for me. I worked really hard for four seasons and this is a dream come true. We are not yet 100% with the frame of the bike but the engine is the best now, today I won because I had a really good engine. I rode with my mind and never gave up".
Broc Parkes scored a fortuitous win for the Yamaha World Supersport team in the opening round of the championship at Losail as his team-mate Fabien Foret, race leader since the early stages, ran out of fuel on the final lap.
The Australian still had to fight for the win however against Spain's Joan Lascorz who was ahead with a couple of corners remaining. Parkalgar Honda's Craig Jones was also in contention right until the very end and the British rider took the final podium slot.
The entire HANNspree Ten Kate team was eliminated on the second lap as Jonathan Rea crashed in front of Andrew Pitt, causing his team-mate to go down in the process. Both riders suffered a series of nasty cuts and abrasions.
SBK Press Office