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Apr 7, 2002

Bayliss Wins First World Superbike Race At Kyalami, Pitt Wins Supersport Race

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By Glenn LeSanto<BR><BR>Troy Bayliss made it five in a row by winning the first race in the Kyalami round of the Superbike World Championship. He hauled himself up from third to first to run away with the race.<BR><BR>For a while, during the middle section of the race, it seemed Edwards, who had clawed his way back from a poor start, might reel the runaway championship leader in. But it wasn't to be. Bayliss just piled on the pressure and finished the race over four seconds ahead of Edwards.<BR><BR>Noriyuki Haga, who had been involved in a scrap for the lead with Ben Bostrom, and then both Bostrom and Bayliss, crashed heavily at Nashua Corner on the 18th lap. He slid the Aprilia into the turn with the back end hanging out, but pushed it just a bit too hard and the bike gripped for a moment and flipped him over the bars. He looked dazed after the incident but was not seriously hurt.<BR><BR>Bostrom, who had led for several laps early in the race after grabbing first place from holeshot man Bayliss, dropped back to finish fourth behind Xaus.<BR><BR>Bayliss almost threw the race away when he nearly highsided his Ducati at Westbank corner on the very last lap. But the Australian saved it and took his fifth win in succession. He had made another mistake in the chicane earlier in the race which allowed Edwards to close the gap by almost a second, but he recovered to record another victory.<BR><BR>"It's incredible!" said Bayliss, who runs Michelin tires. "I can't seem to put a foot wrong. Everything is working well, rider, team, bike, tires, the whole package. What can I say?<BR><BR>"I had a little moment on the last lap but the biggest mistake was actually halfway through the race when I messed up the chicane and allowed Colin Edwards to claw a half-second back.<BR><BR>"The first three laps were crazy. It was like the guys were on a three-lap race! I didn't want to get mixed up in that at all.<BR><BR>"Once I got out in the lead I just rode like I was in practice, I forgot everyone else and just kept my head down and went for it," concluded Bayliss.<BR><BR>Edwards, also on Michelin tires, said, "I got a shit start. Last year I could get my bike off the line no problem. But this year there's been a few changes and I just can't get the thing to launch. I don't know what I have to do to beat this guy (Bayliss). Troy and his bike are a good package, and it seems it's a better package than me and my bike! I want to win, I need to win but it just won't work."<BR><BR>Third-place Ruben Xaus, another Michelin runner, said "I want to dedicate this race to Chili who is injured after an incident in warm up. I hope he is back soon. It was just a racing thing, I was on a fast lap and he had moved over to allow me past. But then we got tangled up on the same line and he went down. There was nothing else to it, it wasn't intentional." (Despite Xaus' statement, the officials thought differently and issued a written official warning to Xaus. The warning accused Xaus of riding 'in an unsafe manner' while overtaking Chili.<BR><BR>World Superbike Championship<BR>Kyalami, 7 April 2002<BR>First race result:<BR><BR>1 Troy Bayliss, Australia (Ducati) 43:01.781<BR>2 Colin Edwards, USA (Honda) 43:05.900<BR>3 Ruben Xaus, Spain (Ducati) 43:08.317<BR>4 Ben Bostrom, USA (Ducati) 43:13.764<BR>5 Neil Hodgson, GB (Ducati) 43:18.605<BR>6 James Toseland, GB (Ducati) 43:31.325<BR>7 Hitoyasu Izutsu, Japan (Kawasaki) 43:39.161<BR>8 Chris Walker, GB (Kawasaki) 43:49.079<BR>9 Juan Borja, Spain (Ducati) 43:56.353<BR>10 Marco Borciani, Italy (Ducati) 43:56.822<BR><BR><BR>Pitt wins two in a row<BR><BR>After winning the World Supersport championship in 2001 without winning a single race, Andrew Pitt now leads the championship again, this time with two wins out of three races.<BR><BR>It was a typical hard-fought Supersport race that featured plenty of scraps and quite a few crashes. After a few laps a battle for the first three places between Stephane Chambon, Jamie Whitham and Andrew Pitt emerged. There was plenty of nail biting overtaking manoeuvres as the three traded places for the lead. The favorite place for passing was the severe downhill drop into Westbank Corner where the riders punish the front tire under heavy braking.<BR><BR>Chambon lost touch a little at the end of the race leaving Whitham alone to try a few last gasp passes. He looked up the inside at Westbank but Pitt was very tough on the brakes there. He tried again at Vodacom Corner, but again Pitt was very late on the brakes and crossed the line just ahead of Whitham.<BR><BR>Behind them a massive scrap between seven bikes ended with Jorg Teuchert just grabbing fourth from Fabien Foret on the line.<BR><BR>Pitt now leads Chambon by 61 points to 52. Foret is third in the title with 43 points.<BR><BR>World Supersport<BR>Kyalami 7 April<BR>Race result<BR><BR>1. A Pitt, AUS, Kawasaki, 44:58.860<BR>2. J Whitham, GBR, Yamaha, 44:59.017<BR>3. S Chambon, FRA, Suzuki, 45:00.533<BR>4. J Teuchert, GER, Yamaha, 45:09.682<BR>5. F Foret, FRA, Honda, 45:09.727<BR>6. C Kellner, GER, Yamaha, 45:10.529<BR>7. P Casoli, ITA, Yamaha, 45:10.828<BR>8. I MacPherson, GBR, Honda, 45:11.113<BR>9. C Vermeulen, AUS, Honda, 45:19.781<BR>10. A Corradi, ITA, Yamaha, 45:20.389<BR>