WSBK : Points tie for Suzuki and Honda riders after round one
Max Biaggi (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) and James Toseland (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) powered to a win and second place apiece at Losail, after two terrific 18-lap contests under the hot Qatari sun.
a surprising raceday development 2006 World Champion Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) was only fifth and eighth, not recovering from a disappointing qualifying session and Superpole contest on Friday.
Biaggi's astonishing victory was an impressive induction into World Superbike, winning at the first attempt and only finding one rider, second place man James Toseland, able to push him and his overall race package right to the end. Third placed Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) was some 13 seconds down, with the second Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra machine of Yukio Kagayama fourth.
Toseland did not have to wait long for the dream first weekend start he desired, scoring the race two victory after a front-running performance in near flawless style. Biaggi closed in on the final laps, but Toseland held on to score the win and thus 45 points in total, sharing the championship lead with Biaggi - although Toseland is shown on top of the standings because his race win came most recently. In third place, Superpole winner Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia) did not have any repetition of the tyre fitment trouble he had in race one (when he was ninth) and finished third on his R1, some seven seconds from Toseland.
LANZI OVERALL THIRD AFTER PODIUM SCORE
Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) added a seventh to his race one podium finish and ended the day third in the standings with 25 points, one place up on Corser. Yukio Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) did not get the starts he hoped for and thus went fourth and sixth, to leave him on 23 points, equal with Corser, who is ahead by dint of his better second race finish.
HAGA DISAPPOINTED BUT ON THE EARLY PACE EACH TIME
Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) suffered front end problems in race one, ending up eighth, but only slowly faded in race two, securing a top six in the table, with 21 points. Kawasaki's top rider on the day was Fonsi Nieto (PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse) who no-scored in race one after a collision with his team-mate Regis Laconi, but recovered his poise to hold onto a hard-won fifth place in race two, keeping him inside the top ten overall.
NEUKIRCHNER ROCKS THE WORLD IN RACE ONE
Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Germany) continued strongly after qualifying to record a sixth place finish in race one, and follow it up with a top ten in race two to leave Qatar ahead of riders on ostensibly better machinery. Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda Ducati) was tenth and ninth and is two points ahead of Nieto overall.
ROLFO LUCKY SEVEN THEN UNLUCKY IN RACE TWO
Roby Rolfo (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) secured a mature seventh in race one in his first Honda SBK ride, but retired in race two, with clutch problems. Steve Martin (DFX Corse Honda) was 17th in practice yet 12th in race one, but suspension changes mid-race stopped him from performing the feat in the second race, when he no-scored in 18th. Alto Evolution Honda riders Josh Brookes and Karl Muggeridge no-scored in race one, but each finished in the points in race two, with Brookes 13th and Muggeridge 14th after a personal on-track duel. Jakub Smrz (Team Caracchi Ducati SC) scored two points in race one, and Dean Ellison (Pedercini Ducati) got off the mark in the opener, with a point for 15th.
SUPERSPORT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
A crash while leading dropped 2005 and 2006 World Supersport Champion Sebastien Charpentier (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) out of the points entirely, and allowed his closely following team-mate Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) to secure the first WSS race win of 2007.
Riding a new Honda this season, Sofuoglu was some 3.4 seconds up on second place rider, and pole man, Kevin Curtain (Yamaha SSP Racing). A good start from the leading three riders meant that third place man Katsuaki Fujiwara (Althea Honda) was too far back to make any real impression on the podium, until Charpentier fell and pushed the Japanese up to third. It was nonetheless a good weekend in general for Fujiwara and his team.
Fabien Foret and Pere Riba (both GIL Kawasaki) raced to the line to battle for fourth place, with the Frenchman, who had survived a brake induced crash in the morning warm-up largely unscathed, just beating Riba in a near photo finish.
The top Ducati was that of Gianluca Nannelli (Caracchi Ducati SC) in eighth place, with Barry Veneman (Hoegee Suzuki) the top 600 Suzuki rider in ninth place. Only 24 riders finished, from 36 starters.
SBK Press Office