Sep 8, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By Glenn LeSanto<BR><BR>Edwards grabs the championship lead in Superbike thriller<BR><BR>America's Colin Edwards took his seventh consecutive win in WSB at Assen and, as an extra bonus, the championship lead!<BR><BR>Edwards was handed the title top slot by a hapless Troy Bayliss who threw the title lead away in De Strubben hairpin, the same place he crashed in Saturday's warm up!<BR><BR>And there was joy for Frankie Chili, who took second place after a great race on his privateer Ducati. The win will lift the spirits of his struggling NCR Ducati team.<BR><BR>Another privateer enjoying the victory champagne was Britain's James Toseland who scored his first-ever World Superbike podium with a well-deserved third place. His teammate Neil Hodgson ended in fourth place after a mid-race tussle with Nori Haga put them both in the dirt. Luckily neither rider actually fell and both rejoined the race. Haga finished up sixth behind Ben Bostrom.<BR><BR>Chris Walker, who will partner Toseland in the HM Plant Ducati team next season. Finished seventh, a great result considering that a stone thrown up by Toseland's bike in the morning warm up punctured his left foot, leaving it badly bleeding and sore for both races.<BR><BR><BR>Assen World Superbike Race Two Results:<BR><BR>1. Colin Edwards, Honda RC51, 16 laps, 32:59.881 <BR>2. Pierfrancesco Chili, Ducati 998RS, -7.506 seconds <BR>3. James Toseland, Ducati 998F01, -11.042 seconds<BR>4. Neil Hodgson, Ducati 998F01, -18.090 seconds<BR>5. Ben Bostrom, Ducati 998F02, -23.695 seconds<BR>6. Noriyuki Haga, Aprilia RSV1000, -24.256 seconds<BR>7. Chris Walker, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, -25.886 seconds<BR>8. Broc Parkes, Ducati 998RS, -41.184 seconds<BR>9. Marco Borciani, Ducati 998RS, -50.057 seconds<BR>10. Lucio Pedercini, Ducati 998RS, -56.054 seconds<BR>11. Peter Goddard, Benelli Tornado 900, -58.092 seconds<BR>12. Mauro Sanchini, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, -62.334 seconds<BR>13. Alessandro Antonello, Ducati 998RS, -64.968 seconds<BR>14. Ivan Clementi, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, -65.482 seconds<BR>15. Mark Heckles, Honda RC51, -73.524 seconds<BR>16. Serafino Foti, Ducati 996RS, -94.430 seconds<BR>17. Thierry Mulot, Ducati 996SPS, -116.078 seconds<BR>18. Troy Bayliss, Ducati 998F02, -7 laps, DNF <BR>19. Jeronimo Vidal, Honda RC51, -9 laps, DNF <BR>20. Ruben Xaus, Ducati 998F02, -10 laps, DNF <BR>21. Gregorio Lavilla, Suzuki GSX-R750, -11 laps, DNF <BR>22. Juan Borja, Ducati 998RS, -15 laps, DNF<BR><BR><BR>World Superbike Championship Point Standings:<BR> <BR>1. Edwards, 502 points<BR>2. Bayliss, 501 points<BR>3. Hodgson, 302 points<BR>4. Haga, 254 points<BR>5. Bostrom, 248 points<BR>6. Xaus, 217 points<BR>7. Toseland, 175 points<BR>8. Chili, 158 points<BR>9. Walker, 143 points<BR>10. Lavilla, 113 points<BR><BR><BR>More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:<BR><BR>Ducati Corse Press<BR>Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) second in race 1, crashes out in race 2 and loses championship lead to Edwards. <BR><BR>Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) lost his championship lead to Colin Edwards (Honda) after crashing out of an action-packed race 2 at the Assen TT Circuit in the Netherlands. The Australian, who had already seen his points lead reduced to 24 after claiming the runner-up slot behind his Texan rival in race 1, had an identical crash at the De Strubben left-hander to the one during yesterday's afternoon practice session to DNF race 2, which saw victory again go to Edwards. With the final round remaining at Imola and 50 points to race for, Edwards and Bayliss are now separated by just one point. <BR><BR>"In race 1, the first few laps were worse than the last few because I was a bit unsettled and couldn't get into a rhythm," declared Troy. "I was much happier at the end and enjoyed myself in the final few laps. I had a few problems getting past Ruben, Nori and Neil early on and made a few little mistakes in the later stage but I'm pretty happy with the result. Right at the end I hit the brakes hard and my bike got into a bit of a shake and I ran out wide onto the marbles. <BR><BR>"I had exactly the same highside crash as yesterday, only smaller," added Troy after race 2. "I was catching Chili and I was going to have him, but the rear of the bike just went away from me. The whole weekend we've been struggling and the bike just hasn't felt the same. Now I've got to go out and do it all at Imola. I'm pretty mad with myself for the crash, but what can you do? I have to admit I'd rather be in front of Colin at this point though." <BR><BR>After finishing fourth in race 1, Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) also had a disappointing second race. His gearshift pedal broke on lap 2 and he came into the pits, but he was then black-flagged as his Ducati 998 had been pulled into the garage for repairs. "Fourth place is OK; the bike was running quite good, but when Troy was behind me I had no options to win, so one position here or there would have made no difference. In the second race I started quite well but the pedal on the gearshift broke and there was nothing I could do but come into the pits." <BR><BR>Two difficult races also for Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M), who finished eighth and fifth on one of his least favourite tracks. "The first race was a struggle but while I was out there I was thinking of how to make improvements for race 2. I was riding on the limit and nearly crashed three times so I don't want that to happen again. In the second race things were not much better. In the early laps I couldn't even pass Walker or flick the bike into the corner without it spinning away from me. Then when Haga passed me on lap 13, I followed him for a bit to set him up for the final lap and then eventually got him on the sweeping left-hander."<BR><BR><BR>More, from a press release issued by Benelli:<BR><BR>Encouraging progress for Benelli Sport at Assen<BR><BR>Benelli Sport enjoyed a promising weekend at Assen this weekend, with Peter Goddard riding the Benelli Tornado to its best-ever World Superbike championship finish.<BR><BR>"We used the weekend to try out some new settings, and I also tried a different construction rear tyre," explained Goddard. "It seems to have worked because we got 12th in race one and then 11th in race two. What's more I did my fastest lap of the weekend on the final lap of the second race!"<BR><BR>The team made a lot of changes for the second race, different tyres, a change of rear spring and some other tweaks to help Goddard in his battle with the other World Superbike regulars.<BR><BR>The team now have three weeks to prepare for the final round in Imola, Italy.<BR><BR>In an amazing turnaround, championship leader Troy Bayliss crashed out of race two and handed the title lead to race winner Colin Edwards.<BR><BR><BR>More, from a press release issued by HM Plant Ducati:<BR><BR>Toseland takes to the podium!<BR><BR>James Toseland fulfilled his goal and climbed onto his first ever World Superbike rostrum after taking third place in a spectacular and dramatic second race at the Assen TT circuit. His HM Plant Ducati team-mate Neil Hodgson finished in fourth place after being punted off the track by Noriyuki Haga as the pair battled for second spot. Championship leader Troy Bayliss crashed out of contention mid-way through proceedings, leaving race winner Colin Edwards one point clear at the top of the overall points table.<BR><BR>Toseland's achievement was a remarkable one, regardless of the incredible sequence of events that led up to him crossing the line ahead of all but two riders. The 21-year-old Yorkshireman fully deserved his maiden Superbike podium finish after riding a swift and consistent race that saw him keep his head when all around were losing theirs.<BR><BR>"I'm still in shock," said an emotional Toseland. "It's absolutely incredible. Words just can't describe the feeling. I was really happy with my first race performance but this just blows it all away. I admit that I got a bit lucky in the race, but I wanted to get on the podium so bad this season and I've put in a hell of a lot of hard work, so I reckon I deserve this. Bayliss crashed in front of me and when Haga took Neil out, I wasn't sure where it left me. When I saw P3 on my pit board I just couldn't believe it. My family have supported me through thick and thin and this one's for them!" <BR><BR>Despite being immensely pleased for his team-mate, Neil Hodgson could not mask his anger and frustration at the Aprilia rider who ruined his chances of guaranteeing his overall position of third in the world rankings.<BR><BR>"I'm glad it was James that profited from my misfortune," said the 28-year-old Isle of Man resident. "He's worked really hard to get on the rostrum and he thoroughly deserved the result – the boy done good. <BR><BR>"For me however, it's just been one of those days," he conceded. "To go out of the first race was bad enough, but then to have Haga trash my chances in the second was unbelievable. I could kind of deal with the first episode because it was a freak occurrence and no-one could have seen it coming, but I wasn't too amused or surprised when Haga shunted me off the track. He'd been far too close for far too long and I knew that it was just a matter of time before something bad happened. He smacked straight into the back of me and really I was lucky to stay on. I had second place in the bag until I got taken out, but I suppose fourth isn't too bad when I could easily have been in hospital. On the bright side however, my championship position is pretty secure and there's another 50 points up for grabs at Imola." <BR><BR> <BR><BR>More, from a press release issued by Honda:<BR><BR>HONDA RACING INFORMATION <BR><BR>EDWARDS BLASTS TO ASSEN DOUBLE AND TITLE LEAD <BR><BR>Honda's on-form Colin Edwards won both races of Sunday's 12th round of the World Superbike championship at Assen in Holland on a dramatic day at the famous venue. <BR><BR>The win double--Edwards' record-breaking sixth and seventh wins in succession--also gave the battling Texan a one-point lead in the championship after rival Troy Bayliss crashed out of the second race of the day. <BR><BR>Edwards won pole position in exciting fashion on Saturday running wide in the final chicane and through the gravel trap on his Superpole lap - and Sunday's action continued to be dramatic at the Dutch event. <BR><BR>He took victory in the opening race after being fourth on the first lap, passing Bayliss and Noriyuki Haga by the end of the lap. Edwards took the lead on lap two from Neil Hodgson and the Texan eased into a six-second lead by the halfway point in the 16-lap affair. <BR><BR>Bayliss battled from fourth and took the runner-up position with five laps to go, crossing the finish line 3.6s behind SP-2 rider Edwards. Aprilia's Haga took his seventh podium finish of the year with third place. <BR><BR>Edwards said: "I always felt I could win but that opening lap was a little bit tougher than I would have liked. I knew that once I was in front I could make the break and I was always kept in touch with Troy's progress in fact I had just about every detail except the lunch menu on my pit signal board!" <BR><BR>He added: "I couldn't fault the machine at all, it ran perfect and despite a bit of trouble with tyre selection yesterday Michelin came up with the goods." <BR><BR>Ducati's Ruben Xaus was a lonely fourth after holding second place until the sixth lap. Pier-Francesco Chili edged out youngster James Toseland for fifth place. <BR><BR>Edwards kept his championship chances on course with a start to finish victory in race two as the drama unfolded behind him on the biggest day yet of the 2002 championship. <BR><BR>Bayliss made an attempt to pass Hodgson for second place at the final chicane on the third lap but ran wide and into the gravel trap, retuning to the track in fifth place. <BR><BR>The championship took another twist as Haga ran into the back of Hodgson on the ninth lap and the pair ran off the track handing Bayliss third place behind Edwards and Chili. <BR><BR>Then, a handful of corners later, Bayliss crashed out of the race at the slow, left-hand hairpin. That left Chili in a comfortable second place and promoted Ducati youngster James Toseland to third his first ever podium finish in the World Superbike championship. <BR><BR>Edwards' victory, the 29th of his career, gave him a one-point championship lead with one round, at Imola in Italy on September 29 remaining. <BR><BR>"I wanted to win both races today like I've never wanted wins," admitted Edwards. "We didn't have the best two days of qualifying we've ever had but it all came together sweet in the races. When I got the signal to say Troy (Bayliss) was out of the race I just got my head down and concentrated on the chequered flag. Troy's been riding really well this year but at the moment I think I'm riding that little bit better." <BR><BR>Edwards concluded: "I suppose you could never have predicted what's happened today but it's made for a great finale at Imola in three weeks and I can't wait, I wish it was tomorrow." <BR><BR>Hodgson returned to the circuit to take fourth place while Ben Bostrom improved on his first race eighth place to take fifth with Haga also retuning to the circuit for a sixth-placed finish. <BR><BR>Honda's spectacular Fabien Foret won an incident-packed race in round 11 of the World Supersport championship at Assen to take a 17-point lead into the final round at Imola in three weeks. <BR><BR>Frenchman Foret rode a calculated race for his fourth victory of the year, in a race stopped on the 12th of the scheduled 16 laps due to a multiple crash at the final chicane. <BR><BR>Christian Kellner's Yamaha engine broke and the German left a trail of oil on the circuit, consequently causing five riders to crash. All six riders escaped serious injury but one of the marshals suffered a broken leg. <BR><BR>Foret now needs eighth place in the final race in Italy to secure the world title for his Ten Kate Honda team, he commented: "It's going to be a very nervous final round but I'm confident of a strong finish at Imola. I'll go there to win but if I have to take eighth place I'll take it." <BR><BR>Foret also led a Ten Kate 1-2 as the CBR600-powered Dutch team cheered Iain MacPherson across the finish line in second place at their home round. <BR><BR>"I was a bit battered and bruised after a crash but I really felt there was a good chance for me to get on the podium today so I tried my hardest once I was running with the front group," said MacPherson. <BR><BR>Last week's German race winner Paolo Casoli completed the podium in third place with hard-charging Australian Kevin Curtain fourth. Foret's nearest challenger in the title chase, Katsuaki Fujiwara, took fifth with Honda's Karl Muggeridge sixth. <BR> <BR> <BR>