TROY EXTENDS HIS LEAD.
Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Troy Corser took a tremendous win and a hard-fought for third place at Monza today and extended his lead in the championship to 52 points over his nearest rival - team mate Yukio Kagayama. Kagayama took runner-up spot in the first race - behind Troy - and was in the hunt for a podium in the second when he ran off the track and tipped over at slow speed in the gravel.
In race one, current World Champion James Toseland (Ducati) took third, to record his first podium of the season. The second race featured a terrific scrap between Regis Laconi (Ducati), Chris Vermeulen(Honda), Troy and Karl Muggeridge (Honda) and went right down to the wire. But although Laconi led on the last lap, Vermeulen passed him on the approach to the second chicane and then held on to take the chequered flag. Troy got the better of Muggeridge in the c losing stages to take third.
TROY CORSER Race 1: 1st, Race 2: 3rd
Race one was good and I had no problems at all really. I got off the line well and then made a bit of a break after a couple of laps. But, it is always close here and as the race wore on the pack closed in on me. Yukio passed me on the last lap, but I went under him and overtook him. We touched briefly, but it was only a minor touch, and there was no danger at all. After that I just put my head down and ran to the flag to win by nearly a second.
In race two, I had some problems with the front brakes almost from the start. There was a bit of vibration when I braked hard and then they began to get hot when I was behind Regis and Chris. I think my Alstare Suzuki was as fast as them, but I couldn^Òt brake as hard as I did in the first race. I couldn^Òt do much about Regis and Chris, but I was determined not to let Muggas beat me to the podium, so I braked as hard as I dared and managed to hold him off. I had already seen Yukio go off the track, so I knew that I had extended my series lead. For us, it is not about winning every race - it^Òs the championship that counts.
YUKIO KAGAYAMA Race 1: 2nd, Race 2: DNF
I enjoyed the first race very much - it was good fun. My team gave me a good bike and I was able to keep with Troy-san without any problems. I went past him going into a chicane, but then I ran a little wide and he came past under me and maybe we touched - I don^Òt know. Then I tried to catch and pass him, but he was too strong for me. But I am happy because this was my first race at Monza and I was second. After Superpole yesterday, it was a good birthday present for me.
The second race was not so good for me. After ten laps, I made a little mistake when I missed my braking point in one of the Lesmo corners and then went into the gravel. The bike fell over at slow speed and the engine cut out. I tried to restart it, but I think some small stones had got in to the airbox because the engine made a funny rattling noise. I knew then it was impossible to carry on. But, I am still second in the championship and one of my favourite circuits - Silverstone - is coming up next.