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Kagayama on the up as Bayliss takes a WSBK fall

Raceline Photography

By Rob Every
July 26 2006

How the mighty literally fall! It had to happen sooner or later and, at the Brno round of World Superbike, it did! Troy Bayliss had a miserable meeting, including a fall in the fist race to really lose his momentum in the championship.

Luckily for the Aussie, though, his main opponents didn’t really capitalise, as Yukio Kagayama took a dominant double win on the Alstare Suzuki.

Race one: At a track he was superb at in 2005 on the same bike, Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) took a good pole position for the Czech Republic round, and indeed the Japanese took the hole-shot, but behind him the bad weekend for Bayliss started early. He was barged off line into the first by “elbows out” Andrew Pitt which forced Troy wide, where he also got together with Régis Laconi on the PSG Kawasaki. The pair of them low-sided and were out of the race before completing one corner!

Soon in front though was James Toseland, the Briton furious after a clash with a dumb backmarker in the warm up forced him onto the spare Ten Kate Honda. Along with him though came the fast starting Kagayama. The Japanese had tested for Suzuki at the Brno track a week before, and in the absence of a sick Troy Corser had clearly got a superb setup on the GSX-R. After five laps it was Toseland, Kagayama and Haga getting away from the pack behind.

Another huge disappointment here was Lorenzo Lanzi, the young Italian joining Bayliss on the front row for Xerox Ducati and fading pretty much from the off to a non finish. Also slow away typically was Alex Barros and a charging Michel Fabrizio (Honda), who was to play a huge part in the latter stages.

Mid race and Toseland and Kagayama were away from the third placed battle that had Haga, Andrew Pitt (Yamaha) and Troy Corser close together, with Fabrizio still with a huge gap to them but lapping much faster.

Five to go and Yukio dropped the lap times and pulled past Toseland, the Suzuki man pulling well away near the end as Toseland’s tyres gave out slightly. The battle for third was huge, and the first man to drop away was Andrew Pitt - unluckily slowing down then stopping completely, so it was then the order of Haga, Corser and Fabrizio. The Italian former MotoGP man was in a forceful mood though and got past Corser starting the final lap then barged his way past Haga on the last lap to nick his first podium in Superbike.

Up front though Kagayama was in a class apart, taking only his second ever World Superbike to add to many British Superbike wins, the Japanese finally fit after an injury hit couple of seasons, with Toseland happy for the podium and to close the admittedly huge gap to Bayliss in the points.

Race two: This race was led initially by Noriyuki Haga, from the yet again quick starting Toseland, and Troy Bayliss at least getting a corner in this time on the Ducati. Kagayama did not start well, and also Fabrizio was in the lower half of the top ten early on. Haga put a couple of good laps together to lead by a couple of seconds, as also in to the mix in the pack came Karl Muggeridge (Honda) and the superb Fonsi Nieto on the Kawasaki.

Up to mid race and the race pattern was settling down. Kagayama now had worked his way into fourth, still a way behind the leaders but right there. The big losers were the Ducati men, both Bayliss and Lanzi had dropped to the bottom of the top ten, clearly struggling. One possible reason was that the Pirelli tyres they tested here the week before were for some reason not available for the meeting! Questions were being asked across the pitlane!

Haga still led by a couple of seconds, but by now Kagayama had passed Toseland and got his head. The superb Suzuki rider was with Nori in two laps and sure enough moved past with considered ease to lead!

Toseland was dropping back though from Haga, and this enabled Corser and the yet again fast closing Fabrizio to hope for a podium. Not quite close enough to capitalise was Fonsi Nieto, a good ride nonetheless, as was that of Muggeridge, keeping the leaders in sight until a few laps from the end.

The interest though was in second and third. Toseland dropped away like a stone to fifth, and the battle was between Haga, Corser and the young pretender Fabrizio. The Italian was right with Corser on the last lap, again lapping much faster and moved to pass Haga, Corser though was not to be denied and edged though again. It ended with an almost motocross style last two bends, with elbows out and riders picking up their bikes a few times as Fabrizio, rather desperate it has to be said, barged his way past both Nori and Corser to steal a superb second! Great stuff though.

Up front though Kagayama was serene. It is a shame he is so far back in the points, in this form he could win many more races in 2006.

Points: 1 Troy Bayliss 262; 2 Noriyuki Haga 189; 3 James Toseland 188; 4 Troy Corser 173; 5 Alex Barros (Honda) 151; 6 Andrew Pitt 128; 7 Yukio Kagayama 106; 8 Lorenzo Lanzi 87; 9 Michel Fabrizio 83; 10 Fonsi Nieto 81.

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