It wasn't anything like the Troy Corser/Troy Bayliss domination that some had predicted, but the two Australians still left Qatar at the top of the points' standings after round one of the 2006 Corona Extra World Superbike championship.
Corser was strangely sedate during race one - and a clutch problem with his Alstare Suzuki was later revealed - but the reigning world champion still brought his machine home in fourth, helped by the last lap exit of Yamaha's Noriyuki Haga and team-mate Yukio Kagayama. Meanwhile, Bayliss had inherited second place – behind James Toseland - by the last lap Japanese collision.
Disappointingly for WSBK fans, the two Troys avoided a direct battle in race one, but that was more than made up for in the second outing when Corser broke into a solid lead, only to be run down by a charging Bayliss in the closing stages.
The factory Ducati rider gave his all to try and pass the #1, but seemed to lack top speed - while Corser in turn soaked up all the pressure - and Bayliss would eventually run wide after a last lap lunge, confirming the finishing order several corners from the end.
"It was hard work today," admitted Bayliss. "Everyone was riding very well and their machines were also working well. The second race was a long race and I really wanted to get a better start than what I did but I found myself again in fourth and fifth in the group. I was a bit unsettled and it took me till two thirds of the race until everyone started to suffer before I could make my move.
"I put my head down and was trying everything to get past people. With two laps to go, I was making ground on Corser and we had a good fight in the end. But my timing was a little bit off for the last corners and he covered it well. Today the best I could do was second so I'm reasonably happy with the results. Everything is going well however and I'm looking forward to Phillip Island."
"It's possible that I may have over-revved the bike at the start of race one and worked the clutch too hard," confirmed Corser. "It was ok at first, but after six or seven laps, I had a problem with it going into the hairpin. It jumped and was completely out, so I had to wait until a straight and try and dial it back in a bit. It made life difficult entering the turns and so I had to brake harder on the entry and that probably worked the front tyre too hard. I think I was lucky to finish the first race because the clutch was very hot.
"I also had some problems with the clutch in the second race, but not as bad as the first. Towards the end of the race I could hear a Ducati nearby and I knew it was probably Troy Bayliss. The tyres were more or less finished on the last couple of laps and I almost overcooked it on the last corner, but I managed to keep it upright and take the chequered flag.
"Both races were really hard - certainly much harder than the races here last year - and I think everybody knows that this is going to be one long, hard season for sure," he concluded.
Bayliss now holds a slim two-point championship lead over Corser and Toseland heading to round two of the championship, at Phillip Island in Australia, next weekend.