May 26, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By Glenn LeSanto<BR><BR>Edwards takes a wet win in style<BR><BR>Colin Edwards pulled off a dominant victory in a treacherous first WSB race at Silverstone. The Texan inherited the lead from a wild Troy Bayliss and was followed home by Nori Haga and Neil Hodgson. Highlight of the race was Bayliss' ride to fifth - the Aussie had to twice charge through the field after sliding off the rain-lashed track.<BR><BR>It was Haga who made the best start, leaving the field in his wake as he got the holeshot into Copse. Edwards was right in his slipstream with Bayliss tucked into third. Bayliss looked most at home in the conditions and by the time the field had reached Stowe for the first time, it was the Number One bike that had snatched the lead. Edwards had also drafted past Haga on the Aprilia, who was now coming under the close attention of wildcard rider Michael Rutter.<BR><BR>Rutter has made his name in conditions like this and slipped by Haga into Stowe. It wasn't to last, though. At the very next corner Rutter was lying in a gravel trap, the Renegade Ducati getting away from him under braking into Vale.<BR><BR>Neil Hodgson made a less-than-amazing start and was engulfed in the pack, but by the end of the first tour he had moved his way up into fifth. He was fighting hard with the impressive Frankie Chili, who was using all his experience to keep on the black stuff. Frankie was unable to hold Hodgson, who was soon past and set about overhauling Haga for third. By the third lap he was past the Japanese rider and up into a podium place.<BR><BR>Bayliss and Edwards were running away from it at the front, but disaster was soon to strike. Exiting Vale on lap three, a fraction too much throttle on the Infostrada Ducati was all it took to send the Aussie tumbling into the gravel. The bike was undamaged and although he kept the engine running, by the time he had got going again, the reigning World Champion was at the back of the pack.<BR><BR>Edwards had to take to the grass to avoid the flying Bayliss and although he inherited the lead, he was now coming under pressure from Hodgson, his lead over the HM Plant Ducati being reduced to less than a second.<BR><BR>Edwards was soon able to take control and pulled away at a rate of over a second a lap, leaving Hodgson and Haga to scrap it out for the runner-up spot. The Aprilia and the Ducati traded paint and places for lap after lap, until an easing off of the rain handicapped Hodgson and his more rain-biased set up. The pair had some huge moments, the biggest of which was Hodgson's ride along the grass after a monster slide through Woodcote. "There was more grip on the grass than the road!" quipped Hodgson after the race.<BR><BR>Bayliss, obviously wanting to make amends after his mistake, was on a real charge. The Aussie was two seconds a lap faster than anyone else, his Ducati seemingly finding drive where other bikes spun up and slid. Just as impressive as his pace, was the way he dealt with traffic. He ruthlessly cut through the field, passing teammates Ben Bostrom and Ruben Xaus as if they were out on a Sunday ride. Bayliss' confidence was soon to catch him out again--the Aussie pushed too hard when scrapping with the MonsterMob Ducati of Steve Hislop, losing the front end and sliding off in a shower of sparks into the Luffield gravel trap. The World Champion is not one to give up and as soon as the bike came to a rest, he was digging it out and wanting to have another go at the pack. Bayliss' hand could be seen squeezing the clutch lever throughout his slide, keeping the engine running.<BR><BR>The Aussie's second comeback ride of the race was just as impressive as the first He charged by all the people he had passed before and was up to fourth by the flag. "The first crash happened because I was struggling getting heat into the tires. Unfortunately after the second the bike was running rough. I think I got some stones in the airbox," commented Bayliss.<BR><BR>While Bayliss was impressing everyone with his do-or-die antics, British rider Mark Heckles was having the ride of his career. The Honda privateer was revelling in the sort of conditions that didn't penalize his underpowered bike, running as high as fifth before being taken by the recovering Bayliss. "The rain gave a great chance to see who could actually race, it's a great leveller," said Heckles. "The conditions were dangerous and when Bayliss passed me for fifth I took it easy as he was so much faster. I'm unbelievably happy. This is so good for my career."<BR><BR>Edwards took a commanding victory. "That was the slowest wet weather race I've been in, but we made a commitment to race at the start, so we had to stick with it," said the Texan. "I had a couple of big moments but now I've won, all I want to do is warm up!"<BR><BR>Noriyuki Haga was second, with Neil Hodgson racking up another podium place with a good third place. Bayliss hard-earned fifth means Colin Edwards only made up 14 points on the defending World Champion.<BR><BR>The rain continued to fall heavily after race one, guaranteeing another wet race later today.<BR><BR><BR>Silverstone World Superbike Race One Results:<BR><BR>1. Colin Edwards, Honda RC51, 20 laps, 43:27.508<BR>2. Noriyuki Haga, Aprilia RSV1000, -7.358<BR>3. Neil Hodgson, Ducati 998F01, -32.990<BR>4. Pierfrancesco Chili, Ducati 998RS, -51.598<BR>5. Troy Bayliss, Ducati 998F02, -54.722<BR>6. Mark Heckles, Honda RC51, -61.128<BR>7. Ben Bostrom, Ducati 998F02, -62.631<BR>8. Ruben Xaus, Ducati 998F02, -72.525<BR>9. Shane Byrne, Ducati 998RS, -75.226<BR>10. James Toseland, Ducati 998F01, -83.670<BR>11. Eric Bostrom, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, -88.618<BR>12. Michael Rutter, Ducati 998RS, -88.844<BR>13. Peter Goddard, Benelli Tornado 900, -94.598<BR>14. Chris Walker, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, -120.294<BR>15. Mauro Sanchini, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, -1 lap<BR>16. Dean Ellison, Ducati 996RS, -1 lap<BR>17. Ivan Clementi, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, -2 laps, DNF<BR>18. Steve Hislop, Ducati 998RS, -10 laps, DNF<BR>19. Glen Richards, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, -11 laps<BR>20. Broc Parkes, Ducati 998RS, -11 laps, DNF<BR>21. Gregorio Lavilla, Suzuki GSX-R750, -12 laps, DNF<BR>22. Serafino Foti, Ducati 996RS, -12 laps, DNF<BR>23. Juan Borja, Ducati 998RS, -13 laps, DNF<BR>24. Jiri Mrkyvka, Ducati 996RS, -16 laps, DNF<BR>25. Steve Martin, Ducati 998RS, -17 laps, DNF<BR>26. Lucio Pedercini, Ducati 998RS, -17 laps, DNF<BR>27. Alessandro Antonello, Ducati 998RS, -17 laps, DNF<BR>28. Marco Borciani, Ducati 998RS, -19 laps, DNF <BR>