Thursday Mar 2 2006
Preview - Phillip Island
BAYLISS (DUCATI XEROX TEAM) RETURNS TO HOME ROUND AT PHILLIP ISLAND WITH TWO-POINT CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
Following last weekend's thrilling series opener in Qatar, Troy Bayliss returns to Phillip Island, Australia for the second round of the World Superbike Championship with a two-point lead in the standings. The 36 year-old Aussie from Taree finished runner-up in both Losail races to lead the world championship for production-based machinery for the first time since Assen 2002. That year Troy lost out on his second successive title, but the tough Aussie, who has returned to Superbikes this year after a spell in MotoGP, is determined to regain his crown from last year's champion and Aussie rival, Troy Corser (Suzuki).
"I'm back here at Phillip Island with the Ducati Xerox squad and it's a team where I've spent most of my career in Superbikes, which makes me very happy because I feel much more at home" declared Troy. "In Qatar we did a really good job, despite having to use the hardest front tyre that Pirelli had, but everyone had this problem, whereas at Phillip Island we'll be able to use the front tyre we like and feel more comfortable with. There was plenty of action in Qatar because all the manufacturers are up at the front and that's exactly what the public wants to see, different brands of bike fighting for the win. A lot of guys like myself have also come back from MotoGP and everyone seems to be capable of doing a good result, which is exactly what the championship needs. Obviously we want to be consistent because points is what's going to win us the championship in the end, but I love to win races as well and the last time I was at Phillip Island in Superbikes we did that twice. It's not going to be easy this time but I'm feeling confident".
Lorenzo Lanzi had a weekend of mixed fortunes in Qatar on his first outing as full-time rider for the Ducati Xerox Team. The 24-year-old Italian scored a front-row slot alongside poleman Bayliss in Superpole, but a high-side in the first race left him slightly bruised for race 2, in which he could only finish sixth.
"My start to the season wasn't the best, apart from qualifying, but luckily the nasty crash I had in race 1 didn't have any serious consequences. In race 2 I didn't really like my sixth place, but I couldn't do much better because of my physical condition" declared Lorenzo. "Now we are at Phillip Island and I am convinced that I can get some good results here. I like the track, hopefully I can get off to a good start in free practice by finding the right settings and doing a qualifying session like in Qatar. I would be happy to get on the front row here, which will give me a chance of fighting on equal footing with the best. The track is great from the mid-point of the lap onwards, the final part. It's so fast and I like fast tracks, but it's not going to be easy to set things up as I've never ridden here with this bike before".
Name: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
Length: 4.445 km.
Pole Position: left.
Corners Left/Right: 7/5.
Longest straight: 835 metres.
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after 1 round of 13):
1. Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 40
2. Corser (Suzuki) & Toseland (Honda) 38
4. Pitt (Yamaha) 27
5. Fabrizio (Honda) 19
6. Barros (Honda) 19
7. Haga (Yamaha) 16
8. Rolfo (Ducati) 12
9. Muggeridge (Honda) 11
10. Abe (Yamaha) 10.
1. Ducati 40
2. Honda & Suzuki 38
4. Yamaha 32
5. Kawasaki 7.
Best lap: Corser (Ducati), 1m32.193s (1999). Lap record: Corser (Ducati), 1m33.019s (1999). Superpole: Corser (Ducati), 1m32.193s (1999).
Race 1 - 1. Corser (Suzuki); 2. Kagayama (Suzuki); 3. Vermeulen (Honda). Race 2 - 1. Corser; 2. Kagayama; 3. Neukirchner (Honda).
Eurosport (Pan European): Sunday 5 March - 0200 SBK race 1 (live), 0730 SBK race 2 (delayed); Eurosport 2 (Pan European): Sunday 5 March - 1545 SBK race 1 (delayed), 1715 SBK race 2 (delayed). La7 (Italy): Sunday 5 March - from 1400 onwards SBK races 1+2 (delayed). Fox Sports (Australia): Saturday 4 March - 1545 Superpole (live); Sunday 5 March - from 1130 onwards SBK races 1+2 (live).