Imola: Team Alstare Suzuki race report

PODIUM FOR YUKIO. TITLE FOR BAYLISS. It was not the best of days for Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra riders at Imola today, but at least Yukio managed to take a hard-fought for podium in race two. The first race saw both Yukio and Troy fail to...

PODIUM FOR YUKIO. TITLE FOR BAYLISS.

It was not the best of days for Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra riders at Imola today, but at least Yukio managed to take a hard-fought for podium in race two. The first race saw both Yukio and Troy fail to finish for very different reasons. Yukio's GSX-R1000 was hit by the falling bike of Max Neukirchner on the opening lap and that was that. Troy was forced to retire after his bike kept finding false neutrals and it would have been too dangerous to continue.

The first race was won by Alex Barros (Honda), with James Toseland (Honda) second and Andrew Pitt (Yamaha) third. Pitt led the early stages of the race before being passed by Bayliss (Ducati), Toseland, Haga (Yamaha) and Barros - all on the same lap. Barros charged to the front on lap twelve and from then on in was never headed on his way to his first ever WSBK win. Bayliss finished fifth and that was enough to take the 2006 title.

The start of race two was far more encouraging for Team Alstare, with Troy in second at the end of lap one, behind Bayliss. But it wasn't long before he began to develop tyre problems and gradually began to slip down the order. Meanwhile Yukio moved up the order and was second with eight laps to go. But he too, started suffering tyre problems and could do nothing when Barros came past. Bayliss took the win - to the roar and approval of the huge partisan crowd - with Barros runner-up and Yukio third.

YUKIO - Race 1: DNF, Race 2: 3rd

Strange day today and I am not happy with the results. My first race never really started because I was hit on the first lap and crashed. I thought about getting back on the bike, but it was too badly damaged. In between the first and second races, my team did amazing work to repair my bike so that I could ride it in race two - and for this I say a 'big thank you.' The start of the second race was very fast and it was difficult to overtake anybody. Also, my front tyre feeling was not very good and I kept thinking I would crash every lap! But I did not want to give in, so I tried my hardest to keep the bike upright and close in on the leaders. I managed to do this and got into second place, but when Barros came past my tyres would not let me fight him back. So I settled for third place. It was one of the hardest races I've ever done, because Imola is a very physical track and when your tyres do not work it makes it even more physically tiring. Now I want to go to Magny-Cours and get two podiums!

TROY - Race 1: DNF, Race 2: 9th

What a day! One to forget for sure! I have had some bad luck this season and it seems to be carrying on and on. There's not much to say really - especially about the first race. After a few laps, my bike found a false neutral on the downhill approach to a left-hander. I had to take to the gravel but I managed to stay on the bike and get back on the circuit. On the next lap, I got some false neutrals again and it became quite scary as I didn't know when or where the bike would do it. It happened a couple more times, so I decided to pull in rather than crash and that was it for race one. Race two started better and I was with Bayliss from the off. After 5-6 laps, the rear tyre started going off and that, together with a lot of wheelspin, meant that I couldn't get any drive or grip. From then, it was a real struggle to keep up and soon my lap times began to get worse and prevented me getting any decent result. I have no idea or explanation how or why all this is happening at the moment, but I've got to believe that it can't last for ever.

-credit: team alstare suzuki

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Andrew Pitt , Alex Barros , James Toseland , Max Neukirchner