Apr 28, 2001
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By Glenn LeSanto<BR><BR>Troy Corser took the Superbike World Championship points lead by finishing second in the first race at Sugo Sports Land, in Japan Sunday.<BR><BR>Corser finished second behind race winner Makoto Tamada and was the only non-Japanese rider in the top five.<BR><BR>Corser now leads Troy Bayliss in points, 112 to 99. Colin Edwards is third with 77, followed by Ben Bostrom with 61 and Gregorio Lavilla with 55 points.<BR><BR>Japanese wild card rider Tamada kept up the relentless pace he's shown all weekend in Sugo with a win in race one. Meanwhile Corser, who grabbed the holeshot on his Axo Aprilia, only to be passed by Tamada on lap four, settled for second place and the Championship points lead. After a strong start, which saw him enter the first turn right on Corser's tail, Ben Bostrom dropped back to finish in ninth. Ducati Corse's miserable weekend continued as Troy Bayliss finished in 13th place and lost his Championship lead to Corser. The first Ducati home was the semi-privateer GSE Ducati 996RS ridden by Briton Neil Hodgson.<BR><BR>Corser managed to hold off an early challenge from the reigning All-Japan Superbike Champion Hitoyasu Izutsu on his factory Kawasaki ZX-7RR.<BR><BR>Afterward the race Corser declared himself satisfied with the result, particularly as it meant he took the Championship lead by a 13-point margin over Bayliss. "I got a perfect start," explained Corser. "But then I missed a gear going into the chicane and that allowed Tamada-San the time he needed to get by me. After that I knew it would be crazy to try to keep up with him--he had much better drive than me out of the chicane where I was spinning the rear badly."<BR><BR>Reigning world champion Colin Edwards had to endure being passed by young British rider James Toseland on the GSE Ducati. When asked what the problem was immediatly after the race, Edwards declined to comment, but his face said it all, as did his lap times--he wasn't pleased! Toseland, on the other hand, was grinning from ear-to-ear as he got changed out of his leathers after the race. "I could see I was catching him fast and got my head down, I was determined to pass him," beamed the 20-year-old from Yorkshire, England. <BR><BR>Later Edwards calmed down and said of his problems, "I made a mess of the start and ended up being boxed in at the first corner but after that I just struggled for rear grip. Getting any response from the rear of the machine was impossible. If I tried to turn into a corner the rear would come around, if I tried to get the power on the rear came around. All we can do is consider what changes we can make for the second race but I'm ready to do something drastic."<BR><BR><BR>Race results follow:<BR><BR>1. Makoto Tamada, Japan, Honda, 37:45.090<BR>2. Troy Corser, Australia, Aprilia, 37:49.180<BR>3. Hitoyasu Izutsu, Japan,, Kawasaki, 37:52.758<BR>4. Shinichi Itoh, Japan, Honda, 37:57.207<BR>5. Akira Ryo, Japan, Suzuki, 37:57.521<BR>6. Gregorio Lavilla, Spain, Kawasaki, 38:03.769<BR>7. Neil Hodgson, UK, Ducati, 38:04.181<BR>8. Pierfrancesco Chili, Italy, Suzuki, 38:04.334<BR>9. Ben Bostrom, USA, Ducati, 38:10.098<BR>10. Wataru Yoshikawa, Japan, Yamaha, 38:10.397<BR>11. James Toseland, UK, Ducati, 38:21.098<BR>12. Colin Edwards, USA, Honda, 38:23.731<BR>13. Troy Bayliss, Australia, Ducati, 38:24.575<BR>14. Regis Laconi, France, Aprilia, 38:24.445<BR>15. Stephane Chambon, France, Suzuki, 38:27.421