Imola victories for Xaus and Laconi
Rampant Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada - Michelin) bags win on eventful day at Imola as World Superbike draws to a close with frantic action and debut win for Aprilia's Regis Laconi. Crashes for past and present world champions; Troy Corser, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada - Michelin) and Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda - Michelin).
Ruben Xaus won an exciting opening 21-lap race in Sunday's 13th and final round of the World Superbike championship at Imola in Italy.
But the young Spaniard endured a three-way battle for the lead with world champion Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada - Michelin) and Frenchman Regis Laconi on an Aprilia before scooping victory. With two laps to go Bayliss lost control of his machine, crashed and Laconi could do nothing to avoid the luckless Australian. The pair both crashed out, Laconi was uninjured while Bayliss suffered a broken right collarbone.
Laconi's team-mate and 1996 world champion Troy Corser took second place with Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda - Michelin) third for his 12th podium finish of the year. Laconi and Xaus were again locked in battle in the second race along with Edwards but an 11th lap incident, like the first race, ruled out two of the leading contenders. Corser crashed and Edwards ran wide to avoid the falling Australian. As Edwards ran through the gravel trap he had no option but to lay his machine down and end his hopes of a second Imola podium finish. Both riders escaped serious injury. That left Laconi in front, under pressure from the exciting Xaus until Tady Okada (Castrol Honda - Michelin) also joined the leading pair for the final two laps. It was Laconi who ran out winner from Xaus and Okada. Ben Bostrom took his second fourth place of the day.
Fabien Foret took his second win of the year with victory in Sunday's 11th and final round of the World Supersport championship at Imola. The French rider won a closely-fought race from Suzuki's Karl Muggeridge with British Yamaha rider James Whitham running wide and onto the grass on the last lap while challenging for the lead, only to return to the circuit for third place. Fourth place was enough for Andrew Pitt to clinch the world title after nearest rival and leader before the Imola round, Paolo Casoli, crashed out without injury at the second corner of the race.