Apr 29, 2001
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By Glenn LeSanto<BR> <BR>All-Japan Superbike Championship rider Makoto Tamada won the second World Superbike race at Sugo, while American Ben Bostrom was fourth and Australian Troy Corser extended his points lead with a sixth-place finish.<BR><BR>Corser now leads Royt Bayliss by 22 points, 122 to 100 in Championship point standings, followed by American Colin Edwards with 80 and Bostrom with 74.<BR><BR>Tamada had a perfect weekend in Sugo. He was fastest in qualifying, won the Superpole and has finished the weekend with two wins from two races. The entire podium for the second race was made up of All-Japan Championship riders, although second place man Hitoyasu Izutsu is riding several WSB races this year. Tamaki Serizawa was third, making it two Kawasakis on the podium. The only other four-cylinder podium place of the season so far was Gregorio Lavilla's third-place finish at round one in Valencia, Spain-–also on a Kawasaki. Three regulars finished behind the Japanese riders, being Bostrom in fourth, Neil Hodgson in fifth and Corser sixth.<BR><BR>Not only did the podium belong to Japan in race two but it was also dominated by Dunlop tires, with the top six riders all racing on Japanese-built Dunlop rubber. The fact that Dunlop has a factory in Japan and tests constantly with teams in the All Japan Series gives the brand an advantage compared to Michelin. Bostrom put his fourth-place finish, a marked improvement on ninth in race one, down to not only a suspension change but also a change in rear wheel rim size, explaining "We fitted a 6.00-inch rim for race two, instead of the 6.25-we used in the first race. It made all the difference, race two was a totally different experience. We also changed the front forks." <BR><BR>Bostrom had been defending his position from Corser in the first part of the race but had a surprise in store when he looked back in the later stages of the race. "I'd been riding to keep Troy behind me, I was letting the back end hang out to make it hard for him to pass me, and then when I looked for him later on I saw Hodgson instead!" <BR><BR>British Superbike champion Neil Hodgson was very pleased with his performance in Japan, saying "I really enjoyed myself today, I feel that I am right on it now, my riding is as good as it was last year and I'm very confident for the rest of the year."<BR><BR>It wasn't such a good day for fellow Ducati rider Troy Bayliss, who had been leading the Championship points before today's racing. Bayliss finished race two way back in 15th place, scoring one championship point. He wouldn't have even made that single point if it hadn't been for GSE Ducati rider James Toseland's misfortune; his clutch failed on the last lap, allowing Bayliss, who he had passed on the previous lap, back by. Toseland was obviously gutted to have lost the point like that, and if he had stayed ahead of Bayliss it would have made two factory scalps in one day, as he had toasted Colin Edwards in race one. As for the Castrol Honda camp, it was a weekend they'd rather forget.<BR><BR>When asked why the Japanese do so well here at Sugo, their home round, Tamada answered, "I don't think it is down to circuit knowledge, or anything particular about the track, I think it is a reflection of the very high standard of riding in the All-Japan Superbike series. I am completely confident that I could perform just as well at Donington." Given that Tamada's performance must have done his chances of riding in the World Superbikes a positive boost, that's a statement we may yet get to see tested in the heat of battle on the rest of the world's Superbike circuits. <BR><BR>Results <BR><BR> <BR>1. Makoto Tamada, Japan, Honda, 47:43.033<BR> <BR>2. Hitoyasu Izutsu, Japan, Kawasaki, 37:46.155<BR> <BR>3. Tamaki Serizawa, Japan, Kawasaki, 37:47.336<BR> <BR>4. Ben Bostrom, USA, Ducati, 37:49.021<BR> <BR>5. Neil Hodgson, UK, Ducati, 37:52.055<BR> <BR>6. Troy Corser, Australia, Aprilia, 37:54.821<BR> <BR>7. Akira Ryo, Japan, Suzuki, 38:00.537<BR> <BR>8. Pierfrancesco Chili, Italy, Suzuki, 38:00.843<BR> <BR>9. Shinichi Itoh, Japan, Honda, 38:02.121<BR> <BR>10. Yukio Kagayama, Japan, Suzuki, 38:02.267<BR><BR>11. Akira Yanagawa, Japan, Kawasaki, 38:06.695<BR><BR>12. Tadayuki Okada, Japan, Honda, 38:17.180<BR><BR>13. Colin Edwards, USA, Honda, 38:17.801<BR><BR>14. Regis Laconi, France, Aprilia, 38:18.076<BR><BR>15. Troy Bayliss, Australia, Ducati, 38:22.681<BR><BR>16. James Toseland, UK, Ducati, 38:37.616<BR><BR>17. Broc Parkes, Australia, Ducati, 38:52.711<BR><BR>18. Stephane Chambon, France, Suzuki, 38:56.277<BR><BR>19. Gregorio Lavilla, Spain, Kawasaki, 38:59.915<BR><BR>20. Steve Martin, Australia, Ducati, 39:01.638 <BR><BR> <BR><BR>Championship Point Standings (after 4 of 13 rounds)<BR><BR> <BR>1. Corser, 122 points<BR> <BR>2. Bayliss, 100<BR> <BR>3. Edwards, 80<BR> <BR>4. Bostrom, 74<BR> <BR>5. Chili, 61<BR> <BR>6. Lavilla, 55<BR> <BR>7. Tamada, 50<BR> <BR>8. Hodgson, 49<BR> <BR>9. Yanagawa, 47<BR> <BR>10. Izutsu, 43