BAYLISS LEADS THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOR DUCATI XEROX TEAM AFTER DOUBLE PODIUM FINISH ON HIS RETURN TO WORLD SUPERBIKES Losail (Qatar), Saturday 25 February: Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) marked his return to the World Superbike Championship with two ...
BAYLISS LEADS THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOR DUCATI XEROX TEAM AFTER DOUBLE PODIUM FINISH ON HIS RETURN TO WORLD SUPERBIKES
Losail (Qatar), Saturday 25 February: Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) marked his return to the World Superbike Championship with two second places at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. It was a remarkable performance by the 36-year-old Australian, who after spending three years in MotoGP, is now leading the 2006 championship following the opening round.
Race 1 saw Bayliss inherit the runner-up slot behind James Toseland (Honda) after the two front-runners Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki) and Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) had crashed out on the final lap. In the second race Troy battled hard with his fellow Australian and 2005 champion Troy Corser right to the finish but had to settle for the runner-up slot again. "It was hard work today", declared Troy. "Everyone was riding very well and their machines were also working well. The second race was a long race and I really wanted to get a better start than what I did but I found myself again in fourth and fifth in the group. I was a bit unsettled and it took me till two thirds of the race until everyone started to suffer before I could make my move. I put my head down and was trying everything to get past people. With two laps to go, I was making ground on Corser and we had a good fight in the end. But my timing was a little bit off for the last corners and he covered it well. Today the best I could do was second so I'm reasonably happy with the results. Everything is going well however and I'm looking forward to Phillip Island".
His Ducati Xerox team-mate Lorenzo Lanzi was running in sixth place in race 1 until he high-sided on lap 4. In the second race the Italian finished in a steady sixth after feeling the effects of his earlier crash. "After I had destroyed my bike in the first race incident, I felt that the bike I used in the second race didn't entirely 'suit' me the way I wanted because we hadn't used it much over the weekend and so it was more of a struggle. I paid dearly for my error in race 1 when I wanted to go and catch them at all costs but I was a bit too hasty. The crash was a nasty high-side, very dangerous, in quite a fast corner, the next to last right-hander. Physically I wasn't 100% for the second race but I got a sixth place which is OK considering the conditions. In the early stages, I was lapping as fast as the others but then my right knee and ankle started to hurt so I had to reduce my pace. However it was a good weekend for the Ducati Xerox Team because Troy is leading the points and the bike's potential is good. It was a pity for me because I was hoping for a couple of good races".