SUPERBIKE, MAGNY COURS
10 October 2007 | News
RACE 1: NORY SAN, THE EMPEROR
The tension in the air is perceptible right from the first curve after the start: James Toseland lightly bumps Lanzi, who falls to the ground. The Englishman has to leave the track to avoid hitting him, and when he gets back into the race he’s last in line.
Haga is first; Corser is second. Behind them is a surprising Neukirchner who tries to stay on their heels. The first three are followed by Bayliss and Nieto, while Max Biaggi is tenth 11 seconds behind the leader and followed by Toseland who’s starting to make his comeback. At the 6th lap, Biaggi passes Rolfo, who is passed also by Toseland, while no change occurs in the top three with Haga and Corser in the first two places and Neukirchner doing an excellent 3rd. In the meantime, Bayliss is coming on strong and starts taking a beam on the leaders.
At the 11th lap, Neukirchner starts his attack on Corser and succeeds in overcoming the Australian’s resistance and making his pass, then Corser succeeds in passing him. Meanwhile, Bayliss picks up precious tenths of seconds and Biaggi passes Laconi. Toseland then does the same. Xaus gets passed, too, and at the 13th lap, Haga is 1st , Corser 2nd , Neukirchner 3rd , Bayliss 4th , Nieto 5th , Biaggi 6th, Toseland 7th, Xaus 8th, Rolfo 9th and Laconi 10th.
At the 15th lap, Bayliss attacks Neukirchner, and it’s as if the Ducati were blowing the Suzuki right out of its way as Neukirchner suddenly loses his rhythm due to some sort of problem.
At the 19th lap, Bayliss attacks again, and this time the victim is Corser, who first falls behind but then recovers and comes back in front of the reigning world champion. Bayliss does not lose heart and tries again: this time he has better luck! Haga deservedly wins the race, and is followed by Bayliss, Corser, Neukirchner, Nieto, Biaggi and Toseland.
After the first race, the partial standings see Toseland ranking 1st with 405 points ahead of Haga with 388 and Biaggi with 377. Biaggi is out but Haga is still in the running just 17 points behind. Will our hero succeed in beating the "pianist" from across the Channel who may still be under the effect of his costly mistake in the race’s first curve? Only the day’s second race will tell!
RACE 2: IMPLACABLE NORY SAN
Haga and Corser are once again the first off the starting grid, and followed by Biaggi, Nieto, Toseland, Bayliss, Neukirchner, Laconi, Xaus, Muggeridge, Rolfo and Fabrizio. At the 4th lap, Biaggi succeeds in passing Corser while Toseland in 6th place is passed by Neukirchner, who falls after the next two laps however and lets the Englishman regain his 5th place position. Biaggi fails to gain ground on Haga, and even falls behind Corser again as these two begin a duel with no holds barred, bike frames included. Nieto is still in 4th place and followed by Toseland, Bayliss and Laconi. At the 14th lap, Nieto attacks Corser, passed again by Biaggi, and gains 3rd place, while Toseland is still 5th and followed by Bayliss who will eventually force him to surrender. The race is pretty much over and the final fireworks come from Nieto and Corser who bump each other on a curve but both stay on the track as if nothing had happened. Haga wins his race and Biaggi comes in 2nd , Nieto finishes 3rd and dedicates what might well be his final winners’ standing placing to Kawasaki, Corser is 3rd, Bayliss 4th , Toseland 5th , Rolfo 6th , Laconi 7th, Fabrizio 8th , and Xaus 9th . Toseland wins the world’s Superbike title for the second time by just 2 points. But luck didn’t have anything to do with it. How many of you out there remember his “infantile” gestures when – astride a private Ducati 996 - he created no little amount of trouble indeed for a certain Neil Hogdson? But that’s a story I’ll be happy to tell some other time if anyone is interested.