Corser then Bayliss as Phillip Island proves unpre

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    Having dominated qualifying and Superpole, and having set another new track best of 1’31.908 in morning warm-up, Troy Bayliss was the hottest favourite imaginable for a double win on his home circuit. His lead in race one dropped off to an eventual sixth place, as Troy Corser (Alstare Corona Extra Suzuki) took a determined and committed win, from Alex Barros (Klaffi Honda) and a more distant James Toseland (Winston Ten Kate Honda). Corser crashed out of contention in race two, as Bayliss finally got the much-desired first win of his prodigal SBK season, ahead of Toseland and Barros. The ups and downs for some of the top riders changed the complexion of the championship table, with Bayliss now in a single point lead over Toseland (75 to 74), with Corser third on 63, and Barros fourth on 55.

    RACE ONE Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) looked to have the first race trophy locked up safe and sound until a mid race loss of forward drive dropped him down the order at a rapidly accelerating pace. Troy Corser held off the attentions of Alex Barros in the first race of the day, with James Toseland (Winston Ten Kate Honda) scoring third place after the long time leader fell from eventual grace. With the return of the sunshine, after dull early morning conditions, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) looked to have the first race in the bag long before the finish, such was his early pace and huge lead at half race distance. He set a new lap record of 1’32.402 on the second lap but with his times increasing dramatically in the final third, he was to finish only sixth. Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) went fourth, with new SBK rider Robby Rolfo (Ducati SC Caracchi) a strong fifth, after a ride through the field from ninth on lap one. An incredible midfield battle saw nine riders fighting for the points for much of the race, in what was another all-time classic event.

    RACE TWO The second 22-lap event of the day took place in similarly warm ambient conditions as the opener, but with a much warmer track temperature showing up, some riders opted for harder compound tyre choices. One such was eventual winner Troy Bayliss, fired up by his problems in race one. He eventually passed long time leader Toseland with seven laps left, to take a hugely popular win. In third place, Alex Barros had the best of a three rider fight for much of the race, having survived a scary moment when Troy Corser crashed out of a podium place in front of him, exiting MG corner on lap four, and Barros could not avoid hitting the luckless Aussie. Corser escaped without injury, despite suffering a heavy impact on his crash helmet and neck area, plus his torso. For his own peace of mind, Corser has nonetheless opted to go for further checks in Melbourne, given his history of internal injuries. In race two Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) took his second fourth place finish of the day, beating his team-mate Andrew Pitt, who had finished race one in a slowly fading ninth. Yukio Kagayama (Alstare Corona Extra Suzuki) slotted his Suzuki into sixth place in race two, after an unhappy race one 12th.

    ROLFO SHOWS HIS POWER WITH TWO STRONG FINISHES Roberto Rolfo (Ducati SC Caracchi) had an outstanding fifth place in the first race, mastering an incredible multiple rider fight for the top ten positions. At one stage of race two, there were 13 riders in one group, battling for supremacy behind the leading ranks, with a bewildering number of overtakes being put in throughout the duration of each 22-lap race. On a good day for the 2005-spec Ducati 999 riders, Ruben Xaus, once more overcame the need to use crutches when walking, to boom his Sterilgarda Berik Ducati to seventh in race one and eighth in race two. His Spanish countryman Fonsi Nieto (PSG-1 Kawasaki) was one place behind each time, with Chris Walker (PSG-1 Kawasaki) twice finishing in tenth. Third PSG-1 rider Regis Laconi struggled hard through the day to finish 13th and 16th.

    MIDFIELD MAYHEM FOR THE FINAL POINTS Pierfrancesco Chili (DFX Honda) narrowly missed out on a point in race one, but scored two in the second race, despite feeling the after effects of two hard races. His team-mate Michel Fabrizio had a better start to race two than the first, and duly finished 11th, making up for a disappointing 15th in the opener.
    Lorenzo Lanzi was to have another eventful day in Australia, as he had to start race one from pitlane, after returning to the pits for machine changes during the sighting lap. He battled to 11th, but in race two, he suffered a crash, which left race one retiree Karl Muggeridge (Winston Honda Ten Kate) out the points entirely after Lanzi’s crashing machine took out the Aussie star.
    Only one Yamaha Motor France rider scored points at PI, Norick Abe fighting to 12th in race two, one place up on Max Neukirchner’s Pedercini Ducati.

    PETRONAS BOYS MAKE FINISHES A front row start for local boy Steve Martin (Petronas FP-1) led to a 14th place in race one, then a 15th in race two. His team-mate Craig Jones crashed out of race one, but took a 21st place finish, his first of the year.

    The big guns of World Supersport fired loudest once more, as Sebastien Charpentier (Winston Ten Kate Honda) took his second successive race win, ahead of Yamaha Motor Germany pairing Kevin Curtain and Broc Parkes. Third was a good finish for Parkes on his own track, bit one rider could count Phillip Island as the race of his life. Young French pilot, Yoann Tiberio (Megabike Honda), put in a fourth in his first ever WSS tour of duty, just edging out another impressive rider, Robbin Harms (Stiggy Motorsports Honda). Josh Brookes (Ducati SC Caracchi) rode his heart out on home tarmac to take his 749 to sixth, the top finishing place for a Ducati rider. A possible sixth for Barry Veneman (Hoegee Suzuki) disappeared when his rear tyre punctured and he slipped down the order to retire. In the championship itself, Charpentier now leads by ten points, from Curtain on 40 and Harms on 21.

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