SUPERBIKE ROUND-3 By G. VENKAT GANESHAN Rain, rain and more rain was witnessed at Phillip Island in Australia for third round of the Superbike World Championship. Corser registered the fastest timing during superpole and garnered his fourth...
By G. VENKAT GANESHAN
Rain, rain and more rain was witnessed at Phillip Island in Australia for third round of the Superbike World Championship.
Corser registered the fastest timing during superpole and garnered his fourth consecutive pole in this Victorian circuit. If last year's race one was near treacherous, conditions were far more worse when compared to the win Gobert registered in the Bimota. Rain coats and umbrellas were the order of the day.
Tadayuki Okada said on Saturday that if it rains it's one thing, if it's windy then it's other, however, if it is windy and raining then I don't feel like to go to work. It happenen exactly as the way Tady predicted, as winds and rains lashed the circuit.
Hence the riders were in an unsavoury position but they had nothing more to do rather than to ride. Though, they had the wet weather tires but conditions tested the riders to the maximum both physically and mentally.
Troy Corser, though took pole but was always skeptical about his performance in the wets. Edwards, who was quite disappointed after his engine unceremoniously dumped him out of the second race at Kyalami, was determined to win at Phillip Island, as he has never won in this circuit.
As the race started, Okada took the holeshot, who started from ninth position, soon Ducati's Troy Baylissm swerved on the outside to take the lead from Okada. Edwards had a good getaway and was in third place, but certainly looked extremely competitive in such testing and trying conditions.
But the downward slide of the front row starters Hodgson and Corser continued as Hodgoson got bogged down in the start and languished down, as Corser too was sixteenth after the first lap.
Ex-Australian Superbike Champion and local rider, Steve Martin on a Ducati held on to fourth place momentarily. But the riders were all over the place as they muscled to keep the bike on track in such appalling conditions. Bikes were slipping and slithering all over the track. Hodgson dumped his Ducati but remounted to finish in eleventh position.
Hitoyasu Izutsu, the double winner at Sugo last year also suffered a highsider and was out of the bike but fortunately was uninjured. Next to go works' Aprilia rider, Regis Laconi who had already injured his knee at Valencia, had a bad fall as he tossed his Aprilia.
Meanwhile, Edwards hit the front and his grooved Michelins worked up to perfections as he never looked back and he took the lead on the second lap and comfortably won ahead of his Honda teammate, Tadayuki Okada and Troy Bayliss.
Accomplished wet weather specialist and Superbike rookie, Reuben Xaus was out of the race after coming on to a strong fourth place. Juan Borja took fifth place before a momentarily lapse in concentration cost him the position and the race, as he slided into the muddy gravel trap at Phillip Island.
This catapulted both Corser and Australian debutante, Broc Parkes to the top six, with Yanagawa holding station in fourth place. Though Parkes dropped his Ducati at Honda corner but managed to regain control and held on to his nerves despite having the ex-champion, Troy Corser in his rear exhaust. He finished fifth, with Corser happily finishing in sixth conditions in such inhumane conditions.
Edwards jumped to third position in the points standings behind Corser and new leader, Troy Bayliss, who continued his consistent performance with his fifth consecutive podium position of the season. Okada was really enthralled to finish in second position, as he failed to finish in the first two rounds.
If race one was near appalling, rains lashed the circuit thick and fast and visibility levels were reduced to sub-zero conditions. Streams of water were flowing on the circuit and it could have been possible to conduct a power boat race rather than a superbike round. However, Troy Corser and Colin Edwards took the initiative in explaining the near treacherous conditions to the local race authorities and the FIM people.
Though both the Motorcycle Australia and the Ducati Corse Team were keen on conducting the second race, but in hindsight, it would have been a near disaster as Bostrom said, ``It would be a disaster to race in such conditions with more than 30 riders trying to gaggle for track positions and giving out their 100%. We don't want to compromise on the whole season rather going out here and injuring ourselves.'' However, commonsense prevailed as the second race of the day was cancelled.
The Superbike championship now moves on to Japan next week as the riders have no respite, will a non-Japanese win at Sugo or will it be the turn of the local riders to shadow their more accomplished Superbike regulars?