took the checkers in a the solitary World Superbike
race at Silverstone, with a heavy downpour causing Race 1 to be run in the wet and Race 2 to be cancelled altogether. The defending champ was flanked on the lone Superbike podium by the factory Yamahas, with Noriyuki Haga
finishing second and Troy Corser
third. The championship points leader, James Toseland
, salvaged an early lap crash by charging from dead last to finish eighth - gathering eight points in the process.
Troy Bayliss took the win at a very rainy Silverstone circuit, with the reigning champion fending off charges from the factory Yamahas.
It was Yamaha's Corser who led in the opening laps before yielding the lead to Bayliss, who motored on to the win. For the Ducati ace it is his third victory of the year and allowed him to gain 17 points on the championship front-runner, but the cancellation of Race 2 meant Bayliss was unable to get any closer.
"It's a shame about the second one," said Bayliss on the cancelled second race. "It looked as if it was easing off a bit but the track's got a lot of water in some of the corners, mud and everything. They pushed it off but the water keeps coming back and I'm sure there are going to be some disappointed people here today. We're sorry for everybody but that's racing sometimes. The first part had a lot of water and when you arrive at that chicane, it's in fifth gear and you're not in control when you arrive there aquaplaning. That's just silliness! Anyway now we move on and we're happy to have closed the gap down on James a little bit with the win. Also I'm disappointed because I feel very good and confident on the bike and it's possible I could have taken another win, who knows? Because sometimes it's days like this when the championship can turn around..."
The rainy day was one of the best of the year for the factory Yamahas, with both Haga and Corser finding the podium and challenging for the win. The solid second-place finish continues Haga's string of podiums to three in row now and closes the gap to Toseland in the championship.
Toseland opened the door to Haga and company when he went down on Lap 3 after his rear wheel lost traction. The Englishman managed to remount his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, however, and came back to finish in spite of his CBR1000RR having a loose handlebar and losing all its engine water during the low-side. King James was not alone in his crashing, with only 13 riders managing to finish the first race.
"I made a mistake in race one, but I was determined to re-mount the bike and claim as many points as possible," said Tosleand. "My handlebar was loose and I lost all the water from the engine because the water pipe came off. It was tough going but in the end I got eight crucial points and I still have the lead. Of course I am disappointed about Race 2 - I am a racer and I was ready to race and get back the points lost in race one. However, I know that safety has to come first and I respect the decision of the organizers."
Tosleand's bad luck contrasted that of his teammate, Roberto Rolfo, who took his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda to a fourth-place finish, one spot ahead of Kawasaki's Regis Laconi.
A near Race 1 disaster for the sixth-place finishing Max Biaggi occurred when he began to highside but managed to save his Alstare Corona Suzuki by landing on the seat. Biaggi hurt his leg in the remarkable encounter, which broke a footpeg, and focused on just getting the Suzuki to the finish line with the Emperor a newcomer to the unfamiliar Silverstone circuit.
"I high-sided and the bike went one way and then the other," explained Biaggi. "When I came back down on the bike, my right leg hit the footpeg with such force that it broke it. Today I brought the bike home and that is a big result for me. At the moment, I want to be able to race at the front, but we need to do more work on the bike and I hope we can improve it soon."
Xerox Ducati's Lorenzo Lanzi finished seventh and was the final rider not to be lapped by his front-running teammate. Ruben Xaus, like Toseland, also fell during the race but remounted and finished, with the Sterilgarda Ducati rider earning a ninth-place result. Fellow privateer Max Neukirchner rounded out the top ten.
Riders took an inspection lap for the second race and the start was delayed due to the standing water on the British circuit. When conditions did not improve after the delay, officials cancelled afternoon's Race 2.
Bayliss could have used the second contest to gain some ground in the points, because while Toseland did lose some ground the points leader still owns a sizable 48-point advantage over the reigning champ. As it now stands the greatest beneficiary at Silverstone was Noriyuki Haga, whose second-place finish stole 12 points from Toseland's lead, making Nitro Nori just 23 points off the leader as the SBK grid enters the second half of the season.
Silverstone Race 1 Results:
1 Bayliss (Ducati Xerox Team)
2 Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia)
3 Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia)
4 Rolfo. (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
5 Laconi (Kawasaki PSG-1 Corse)
6 Biaggi (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra)
7 Lanzi (Ducati Xerox Team)
8 Toseland (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
9 Xaus (Team Sterilgarda)
10 Neukirchner (Suzuki Germany)
11 Iannuzzo (Kawasaki PSG-1 Corse)
12 Morelli (D.F.X. Corse)
13 Nakatomi (Yamaha YZF)
DNF Nieto (Kawasaki PSG-1 Corse)
DNF Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra)
DNF Smrz (Team Caracchi Ducati SC)
DNF Brookes (Alto Evolution Honda)
DNF Polita (Celani Team Suzuki Italia)
DNF Ellison (Team Pedercini)
DNF Muggeridge (Alto Evolution Honda)
DNF Fabrizio (D.F.X. Corse)
World Superbike Championship Points:
1. Toseland - 237
2. Haga - 214
3. Biaggi - 201
4. Bayliss - 189
5. Corser - 151