MIXED EMOTIONS FOR TEAM ALSTARE IN AUSTRALIA.
Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra experienced practically every sort of emotion in the second round of the Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island today, with Troy causing most of the ups and downs. He won the first race - a tremendous battle with Bayliss (Ducati) and Barros (Honda) - after keeping his cool when Bayliss romped away from the rest of the field from the start. When Bayliss was forced to slow (because he had trashed his tyres) Troy took the opportunity to take the lead. Barros was right with him and proved to be more than a handful in the closing stages, but Troy used his experience and took the chequered flag by almost half a second. Third went to Toseland, ahead of Haga (Yamaha), Rolfo (Ducati) and Bayliss. Yukio Kagayama suffered clutch problems and was forced to overshoot Honda hairpin and rejoined the track in twenty-first place. He charged his way back up the field and managed to take twelfth place before running out of laps. Fabien Foret was thirteenth after the first lap, but was forced to retire with a throttle problem after ten laps.
The second race was another one of drama for the team, starting with Troy's crash after three laps, when he highsided just after Lukey Heights. In the fall, he was hit by Barros' Honda and was lucky to escape serious injury. The footpeg of Barros' bike hit him just behind his head and the rest of the bike struck his shoulder, elbow and hip. Troy was taken to the Clinica Mobile but the X-rays revealed no broken bones. Nevertheless, to make sure, Troy went to Melbourne hospital for a precautionary check. Yukio was twelfth at the end of lap one before getting stuck in a group of riders. He had a difficult time getting through the pack, but he fought hard and managed to take sixth position at the flag. Fabien made a good start, but had to run wide at the second turn to avoid another rider and this dropped him well down the order. He ended eighteenth after being caught up for the second part of the race with the Yamahas of Shinichi Nakatomi and Sebastien Gimbert. Bayliss won the race comfortably, with Toseland second and Barros third. Fourth went to Haga, ahead of Pitt and Kagayama.
TROY - Race 1: 1st, Race 2: DNF
Well that was a day and a half for sure. A fantastic win the the first race and then a crash in the second! I knew Bayliss would not be able to keep up that pace in the first race and that his tyres would not last. I got caught in a group at the beginning and knew that I couldn't hang around with them too long, so when James (Toseland) made a little mistake and ran wide, at Honda, I sneaked through. When I caught Bayliss, I could see he was having problems, so it was no surprise when I passed him - in fact he let me through. I then had a pretty good fight with Barros, but held him off at the end.
In race two, on the approach to the turn after Lukey Heights, I lost the rear end suddenly and highsided. I felt a thud on my back and knew I had been hit by a bike. I went to a hospital in Melbourne for a check-up. I really don't know why I crashed, because the telemetry shows that I wasn't doing anything different to the previous laps. But that's racing!
YUKIO Race 1: 12th, Race 2: 6th
Not such a good day , I think. I had problems with the clutch in the first race - similar to Qatar - and it was very difficult to ride the bike. The feeling was not consistent and sometimes it worked OK and sometimes it did not! I did my best to stay out and finished 12th. In race two, my start was not perfect and that meant I had a lot to do in the race. It is always hard to make a good result from the third row of the grid, but if I had made a better start then I think I could've challenged for a podium.
FABIEN Race 1: DNF, Race 2: 18th
It was a bit of a disappointment for me today, but it's all part of my learning process in Superbikes, I guess. I really thought that I would be able to score some points today, but the DNF in race one didn't help. My throttle was not consistent at all - sometimes it would stay open after I had shut it - so I had to pull in. I made a good start in the second race, but had to run wide to avoid a rider who had made a mistake and that cost me many places. Then I got caught up in a battle with two Yamaha riders and that was that. I am looking forward to some tests before the next race because I need to understand this bike more than I do at the moment.