2006 WSB Imola Results

October 1, 2006
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Troy Bayliss claimed the World Superbike championship today at Imola. The Australian rider celebrated the title with a fifth-place finish in Race 1 and a victory in Race 2. On a day which saw an unusual variety of names on the rostrum, James Toseland, Andrew Pitt, and Yukio Kagayama each garnered a podium apiece. Only one man was able to find the rostrum twice, Klaffi Honda’s Alex Barros, with the Brazilian rider also celebrating his first-ever victory in the series during Race 1.

Ladies and gentlemen  I give you the new WSB champion  Troy Bayliss - Imola
With his fifth-place finish in Race 1 Troy Bayliss reclaimed the title he held back in 2001. The Ducati ace would go on to win the second race for good measure.

Bayliss’ championship success at Imola caps off his dominating return to the WSB series after a multi-year sojourn in MotoGP. Further cementing the wisdom of his Ducati employers for hiring him in the off-season, Bayliss (who won the same title for Ducati back in 2001) delivered the championship to the Italian manufacturer on its home soil. The Australian rider’s victory in Race 2 was unnecessary but pleasant icing on the cake, as Bayliss locked up the title with his fifth-place result in Race 1.With a 98-point lead now in the championship, Bayliss has been so dominant in ’06 that he has to be considered the man to beat when 2007 rolls around.

“I’m really happy for myself and for Ducati Xerox with the title win,” said Bayliss. “We’ve worked well all year, the second half has been a little bit up and down but I’ve just had to ride harder. I got a good start in race 1, I really wanted to go for the win but I think we chose the wrong rear tire and I was struggling a bit so in the end I was happy to let Pitt pass me and then I let Nori pass me as well. It’s been very busy today with all the Ducati factory here but I’m happy as well for everyone who made this win possible, Xerox and Shell Advance above all, but to do it at Imola today was very special. I’ve got a great team, and a lovely bike, and I wanted to win the second race to put the icing on the cake!”

In Race 1 Alex Barros worked his way up through the ranks from his eighth-place starting position to claim his first WSB win. The Brazilian rider built a fast and steady pace, setting a new lap record at the circuit. When he claimed the checkered flag Barros had over a four-second lead on second-place rider James Tosleand. Andrew Pitt rounded out the podium, with his Yamaha teammate, Noriyuki Haga on spot behind. Playing it safe and finishing one position behind Nitro Nori, Bayliss would go on to celebrate his second WSB title between races.

In Race 2 Bayliss was able to open up the throttle and not worry about jeopardizing any championship. As a result the Ducati man motored on to his 11th victory of the year. Barros gave the new champ a run for his money, but finished 1.413 seconds off the pace. Yukio Kagayama tallied the best result of the day by a Suzuki rider with his third-place podium appearance. Andrew Pitt once again outdid his teammate by finishing fourth, followed by Tosleand in fifth and Haga sixth.

Contrasting the good fortune of Bayliss and Barros at Imola, Suzuki’s Troy Corser not only had to endure watching his title handed over to his fellow countryman and rival, but he didn’t fare too well on the race track either. There was quite a bit off attrition during the two WSB races, with 12 DNFs in Race 1 and 11 in Race 2, and all three of the Alstare Suzukis were among those to tally the dreaded DNF during the first race. In Race 2 Corser found himself ninth on the result sheet, while the team’s third rider, Max Neukirchner, garnered a very Neukirchner-like line of DNF-DNF.

As far as the remaining championship positions are concerned, James Toseland’s 2-5 result bettered Haga’s 4-6 and was enough to allow the British rider to vault ahead of the Japanese man by two points for second-place overall. With 218 points Corser has dropped down to sixth in the championship, behind Andrew Pitt (239) and Alex Barros (231).

WSB Imola Race 1 Results:
1. Alex Barros (Klaffi Honda)
2. James Toseland (Winston Ten Kate)
3. Andrew Pitt (Yamaha Motor Italia)
4. Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia)
5. Troy Bayliss (Xerox Ducati)
6. Lorenzo Lanzi (Xerox Ducati)
7. Fonsi Nieto (PSG-1 Kawasaki)
8. Karl Muggeridge (Winston Ten Kate)
9. Norrick Abe (Yamaha Motor France-Ipone)
10. Regis Laconi (PSG-1 Kawasaki)
DNF – Troy Corser (Alstare Suzuki Corona)
DNF – Yukio Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki Corona)
DNF – Max Neukirchner (Alstare Suzuki)

WSB Imola Race 2 Results:
1. Troy Bayliss (Xerox Ducati)
2. Alex Barros (Klaffi Honda)
3. Yukio Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki Corona)
4. Andrew Pitt (Yamaha Motor Italia)
5. James Toseland (Winston Ten Kate)
6. Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia)
7. Lorenzo Lanzi (Xerox Ducati)
8. Karl Muggeridge (Winston Ten Kate)
9. Troy Corser (Alstare Suzuki Corona)
10. Regis Laconi (PSG-1 Kawasaki)
DNF – Max Neukirchner (Alstare Suzuki)
DNF – Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda-Berik Ducati)

WSB Championship Points:
1. Bayliss – 393
2. Toseland – 295
3. Haga – 293
4. Pitt – 239
5. Barros – 231
6. Corser – 218