South African wins for Edwards and Bostrom Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda - Michelin) in dominant mood with victory in opening race as Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada - Michelin) gives French tyre manufacturer Michelin a 1-2 in opening action then...
South African wins for Edwards and Bostrom
Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda - Michelin) in dominant mood with victory in opening race as Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada - Michelin) gives French tyre manufacturer Michelin a 1-2 in opening action then Ducati's Ben Bostrom wins second race with Bayliss second as Edwards suffers engine trouble.
Edwards rocketed to victory in the opening 25-lap race, taking the lead from Bayliss on the third lap before easing to the 17th victory of his World Superbike career.
Defending world champion Edwards was confident of his race set-up and tyre choice and handled the rear 16.5 Michelin slick tyre perfectly. He said: "That was about as perfect as a race can get. Michelin have given us a really good race tyre and there was no way I was going to waste it on the first couple of laps in a rush to get to the front and get away."
Bayliss challenged Edwards in the early stages but with 11 laps to go Edwards had opened up an advantage of 1.7 seconds and taken command. The Castrol Honda VTR rider also recorded a new lap record of 1m 43.101s on the sixth lap as he made the break from Bayliss.
Troy Corser (Aprilia) and pole position rider Ben Bostrom (Ducati) were a distant third and fourth. Akira Yanagawa (Kawasaki) inherited fifth place from Neil Hodgson on the 12th lap when the British Ducati rider was forced to retire with an oil leak.
Veteran Suzuki rider Pier-Francesco Chili finished while young Spanish rider Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada - Michelin) was ninth. It was a disappointing opening race for Tady Okada (Castrol Honda - Michelin) who retired after six laps with an electronics complaint.
Edwards closed on Bostrom for the lead in race two and on lap 16 hit the front only for his machine to stop seconds later with an engine problem. That left Bostrom in control as the American took his first World Superbike win outside the USA and the second of his world championship career.
Edwards had recorded two new lap records, on laps four and eight and his team-mate Okada also recorded a new lap record on the fifth lap as the pair put their Michelins to full use around the undulating, sweeping Kyalami circuit.
Bayliss passed Corser for his eventual second place on the eighth lap and the tough-riding Australian recorded his fourth second place finish from four races so far in 2001.
Corser took third place to maintain a title lead of two points over Bayliss while Neil Hodgson bounced back from a first race retirement to grab fourth by less than one second from the fast-improving Xaus.
The World Superbike championship moves to Phillip Island in Australia on April 22 where the World Supersport championship rejoins Superbike.