Mar 10, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Troy Bayliss takes first race win of 2002<BR><BR>By Glenn LeSanto<BR><BR>World Superbike, Race One report from Valencia<BR><BR>Reigning Superbike World Champion Troy Bayliss made it clear that he doesn't intend to give up his Number One plate at the end of the season. The Australian led the first race of the season from start to finish, despite coming under some fierce early pressure from Noriyuki Haga and Ben Bostrom. As the laps ticked by, Bayliss steadily took control of the race, finishing the race 3.176 seconds up on Haga.<BR><BR>Behind him Bostrom and Haga spent the race locked in a titanic battle for the second step on the podium. Whenever it looked like Bostrom was getting away and leaving Haga behind, the Japanese wildman would pull off an awesome pass on the brakes. Bostrom didn't seem to have an answer for Nori's late braking at the end of the front and back straights.<BR><BR>As the race wore on it looked like Bostrom had used up his rear tire. He was clearly faster than Haga into most of the turns but on the exit it was the reverse, with Haga getting the better drive out. Bostrom's Ducati was sliding and bucking in the longer turns as the Californian searched for grip.<BR><BR>Behind the pair Colin Edwards looked unable to close the half-a-second gap that existed for most of the race and had to settle for fourth. Ruben Xaus secured fifth, unable to recover from a poor grid position caused by an indifferent Superpole performance.<BR><BR>Bayliss dominated the race to such an extent that he finished over 30 seconds up on 10th-place man Chris Walker on the factory Kawasaki. Walker's teammate, Hitoyasu Izutsu was first man home on a four-cylinder machine, and he finished seventh.<BR><BR>"It was a real hard race but also the funnest race I've had in a long time," said Bostrom. "I'm kinda pissed off to finish back in third. But it was real fun out there and awesome to come back to such a great race. In race two I want to make sure I finish first!<BR><BR>"I think if Noriyuki Haga and me hadn't fought so hard with each other in the race Troy Bayliss might not have got away so much. Our fight caused us to put in some pretty slow laps. And Troy is the kind of rider who'll just sit on the bike and ride it and go. At the end he was just playing with us.<BR><BR>"I want to say how great it is to be back racing, it's been a long winter and I've missed the feeling of racing and all the atmosphere from the crowd," concluded Bostrom.<BR><BR>"It was a very tough race," said Haga, who, like Bostrom, was on Dunlop tires. "By lap six my rear tire was sliding and Troy Bayliss had gone. Then Ben and me got into a really big fight, it was very hard but also very enjoyable. I'm very happy to be back in World Superbike racing."<BR><BR>"I said after Superpole I planned to be first into the first corner, said Bayliss, "and I was! At first I got in a big fight with Ben, we were riding really close and we even touched a couple of times.<BR><BR>"I have to say that my bike was working really well, I've never ridden so hard and then hopped off the bike and felt like I'd done nothing, like I do now. The bike is that good.<BR><BR>"About two-thirds distance I lost concentration a bit and got into a bit of trouble in one corner. I guess I was thinking about lunch or something. You have to try to keep your head and keep smooth when you are out ahead like that, but I'm an aggressive kind of rider and sometimes that takes over." Bayliss won on Michelin tires.<BR><BR><BR>World Superbike Results From Valencia, Race One:<BR><BR>1. Troy Bayliss, Ducati, 36.51.963<BR>2. Noriyuki Haga, Aprilia, 36:55.139, -3.176 seconds<BR>3. Ben Bostrom, Ducati, 36:55.279, -3.316<BR>4. Colin Edwards, Honda, 36:55.990, -4.027<BR>5. Ruben Xaus, Ducati, 37:00.673, -8.710<BR>6. Neil Hodgson, Ducati, 37:06.408, -14.445<BR>7. Hitoyasu Izutsu, Kawasaki, 37:07.858, -15.895<BR>8. Gregorio Lavilla, Suzuki, 37:22.778, -30.815<BR>9. Pierfrancesco Chili, Ducati, 37:22.783, -30.820<BR>10. Chris Walker, Kawasaki, 37:23.559, -31.596<BR>11. Juan Borja, Ducati, 37:23.630<BR>12. James Toseland, Ducati, 37:28.233<BR>13. Alessandro Antonello, Ducati, 37:31.935<BR>14. Lucio Pedercini, Ducati, 37:35.765<BR>15. Broc Parkes, Ducati, 37:38.615<BR>16. Marco Borciani, Ducati, 37:39.535<BR>17. Steve Martin, Ducati, 37:40.830<BR>18. Ivan Clementi, Kawasaki, 38:15. 961<BR>19. Mauro Sanchini, Kawasaki, 38:17.806<BR>20. Thierry Mulot, Ducati, 38:28.476<BR>21. Mark Heckles, Honda, 22 laps<BR>