Race 2 promised to have more close racing, as many riders in Race 1 proved they could race near the top (not to mention, many riders in WSBK have contracts up for renewal). With Imola being the home track for the Ducati loyal, a lot of fans we’re waiting to see the red bikes up front.
Many Xerox Ducati fans were also keen to see if Haga could retake the lead in the World Superbike Championship standings with a strong showing at Imola. They would not be disappointed, a full race report after the jump.
Racing went off without a hitch this Sunday, as the Imola circuit seemed devoid of earlier traction problems that almost sidelined the racing earlier this week. With Imola sitting literally in Ducati’s backyard, all eyes were on the Xerox Ducati squad, and Noriyuki Haga.
Haga, who trails Ben Spies for the first time this season coming into Imola, was especially keen on grabbing back some points from the American. Lastly, a new addition to the WSBK paddock took the form of Marco Simoncelli, who was filling in on the factory Aprilia team for the injured Shinya Nakano. A full race report with spoilers after the jump.
The Italian motorcycles clearly were dialed-in for Imola this weekend, with the Ducati’s showing strong results, as well as the RSV4’s of Biaggi and Simoncelli. So it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see that Race 1 at Imola was dominated by the close racing between the Italian machines, with American Ben Spies trailing and Johnny Rea a brief factor.
After gracefully bowing out on top at Portimao last year, 3-time and still reigning World Superbike Champion, Troy Bayliss, seemed to have done everything perfectly. The danger with both politicians and racers (all careers end in failure) is knowing when to stop and Bayliss went out on the pinnacle of his form. Champion and race winner. Now rumors are circulating that retirement hasn’t been as easy going as his personality and that Troy wants to be Baylistic once again in the World Superbike paddock.
Bayliss is all set to make his Australian V8 Supercar debut but according to Italian magazine Motosprint (English translation) he predicts that four wheels won’t satisfy him and is on the lookout for a ride at the Imola round this weekend where he is Ducati’s guest.
Troy has not raced since the final round of the season last year although he has tested a Ducati MotoGP bike at Mugello. Maybe the taste of it was all he needed to get fired up again?
“I want to race in Superbikes again,” he told MotoSprint. “I’ll be looking around here at Imola. It’s a shame that Ducati have already signed two riders for 2010, I feel that I could have done well next season.” Ducati team boss Davide Tardozzi confirmed that Bayliss had approached him about racing. “Troy asked me if he could race when he landed, last Tuesday. But how could we satisfy his request? We don’t have the resources for three riders,” Motosprint quotes Tardozzi as saying.
I must admit that I admired Troy’s decision to stop and move on to a new place in his life. He has been tremendously successful and is now retired without significant injury. To me, this turn of events is most unexpected and highly unlikely but time will tell.
What do you think? Will we see Bayliss dicing with Haga and Spies next year? Chime in with your views in the comments section below.
Everyone was excited about the return to Imola for the World Superbike circus. This is the circuit that decided the 2002 season between Troy Bayliss and Colin Edwards (in Edward’s favor) and is the first meeting with Ben Spies in the points lead. However riders have turned only 2 laps in the first practice session before all coming in complaining about a lack of grip.
The live timing at the official site is frozen with just 5 minutes of the opening practice session run and riders completing no more than 2 laps. Ironically Troy Croser on the BMW is on top with surprise 250GP entrant and soon to be MotoGP star, Marco Simoncelli recording the 2nd fastest time on his Aprilia RSV4 World Superbike debut.
The grip problems seems to stem from the World Touring Car Championship racing from last weekend. No-one is sure what the problem is, too much cleaning or still some remaining oil but the riders are not happy and the teams are in a huddle with organizers whilst a solution is sought.