BAYLISS BRINGS 999 ERA TO AN END FOR DUCATI XEROX AS TOSELAND TAKES TITLE - LANZI CRASHES OUT OF FINAL RACE
Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) brought the Ducati 999 era to an end as he finished second and fifth in the final two races of the year in front of 75,000 spectators at Magny-Cours in France. With both wins going to Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) and the title in the hands of James Toseland (Honda), the 38 year-old Australian concluded the 2007 championship in fourth place on 372 points. Team-mate Lorenzo Lanzi had a disappointing end to his period in the factory Ducati Xerox Team with a nasty high-speed crash at the start of race 1. Lorenzo suffered bruising to his right shoulder, elbow and knee, which forced him to miss race 2. The Manufacturers' title went to Yamaha, with Ducati in second place, but there was satisfaction for the Italian manufacturer today as 19 year-old Niccolo Canepa clinched the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup with the new twin-cylinder Ducati 1098S in its first year of competition.
"I guess it was a little bit up and down today" declared Troy. "It took me a little while to actually get going in race 1 because the guys were going really fast at the start of the race. But I managed to keep the momentum going and started reeling them back in. Our bike's not slow but there are a couple of tracks where we suffer a little bit in acceleration and this is one of them, and when I do make a pass I have to cover the way well otherwise it's a waste of time. I thought I was going to do a better job in the second race, we put a harder front tyre and changed the rear setting a little. It's hard to say if it was better or worse really, I did my best lap on the last one but it was all over by then. I'm happy to have taken the 999 to the end of its career, I've had a great time on it and it's been kind to me...once! And now I'm really looking forward to riding the new bike next year!"
"It was a real pity" declared Lorenzo. "Today I felt really good and I was sure I could have got a couple of good results because I had a really good feeling with the bike. I wanted to make a good start and I did, and I was almost immediately taking Corser for second place. Then I felt the rear go away from me, I thought I had overdone it in the curve but after looking at the replay I realised that James touched me. Unfortunately these things happen, that's racing, I've also touched other riders' wheels when overtaking. Luckily nothing's broken, but I've got some severe bruising which prevented me from taking part in race 2."
Davide Tardozzi, Ducati Corse Superbike Director, added: "We won seven races this year, demonstrating that the 999 is still a competitive bike. Although we lost the title, we know that we could have been in with a chance of winning it. A few too many mistakes during the season unfortunately prevented us from coming to Magny-Cours for the final round with the title still to play for, but we know we've got a great rider and a great bike. Satisfaction however for the Ducati Xerox Junior Team. The 1098 is a winning machine, it won with Niccolo who is a talented young rider and for sure the bike lent a hand. It's a great result!".