FRUSTRATION FOR TEAM ALSTARE. After two days of dry conditions, the Assen circuit was soaking wet by the time the first race got under away today. A lot of oil had been spilled in the morning warm-up and the cleaning trucks had gone out ...
FRUSTRATION FOR TEAM ALSTARE.
After two days of dry conditions, the Assen circuit was soaking wet by the time the first race got under away today. A lot of oil had been spilled in the morning warm-up and the cleaning trucks had gone out twice before the WSBK riders felt confident enough to venture out in the rainy conditions.
In race one, Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra riders Troy Corser and Yukio Kagayama both fell foul of the slippery surface and were out of contention by eight laps. Corser crashed because his visor fogged up and he couldn't see where he was going and Kagayama crashed when he hit a large puddle of standing water. The race was one of attrition and in the end only fifteen riders (out of twenty-eight) finished. Amongst the casualties were three of the top four in the title chase. Chris Walker (Kawasaki) started from last place, but stormed through the field, mastering the difficult conditions to take his maiden World Superbike win. Second was Andrew Pitt (Kawasaki), with Michel Fabrizio (third). By the time the second race started, the track was virtually dry, though there were still a few damp patches waiting to catch the riders out. Corser's race lasted only to the first turn. His front wheel was hit by Haga's bike, destroying the rim and damaging the disc in the process and when he tried to hit the brakes nothing happened and he crashed. Kagayama led for a substantial part of the race until his tyres went off. After that, all he could do was keep going and try and bring his GSX-R1000 Suzuki safely home. In the end, he took a hard-fought for fourth behind Troy Bayliss (Ducati), Andrew Pitt and Fonsi Nieto (Kawasaki).
YUKIO Race 1: DNF, Race 2: 4th
I am not so happy today, because I believed I was going to get two podiums. The rain ruined everything and all I managed in the end was just one fourth place. The first race was very difficult because there was so much water on the track. In the beginning I was very careful in the (new) first section of the track because it felt very slippery there. I got into third place by lap seven and thought maybe I could stay in that position. I was particularly careful on the corner where Troy-san crashed, but maybe that was my undoing, because I then crashed on the next corner! I hit a big puddle and the bike aquaplaned and that was it! In the second race, I made a good start and had a good battle with Bayliss. I think I Ied the race for maybe seven laps and then my tyres started to go off a lot. When Bayliss passed me, I could do nothing about it and from then to the end of the race, I had to try and keep going as best I could.
TROY Race 1: DNF, Race 2: DNF
I guess you could say that today was one to forget and the only good news is that I never hurt myself in the two crashes. The first race started well enough and I managed to lead Bayliss in the wet for a couple of laps. But soon my visor started fogging up and I was having to try and look out of the side of it just to see where I was going! At the kind of speed we were going, that isn't good enough and when I looked up one time, I was off line and heading into a large patch of water. Next thing I knew I was down and my race was over. In race two, there was an even bigger disaster. Haga was next to me off the line and heading toward turn one I think he missed a gear and then hit me. At first I didn't know what happened and I tried to brake for the turn, but nothing happened. I went down and it was only when I looked at the front of my bike that I realised that the impact had broken my front wheel rim and damaged one of the brake discs. What a frustrating and disappointing day it has been - especially after taking Superpole yesterday. If today had been dry, I feel I would've taken two podiums for sure, but that's racing.