Troy Corser has won the second race at the opening round of the World Superbike championship at Qatar, sharing the victories with fellow former champion James Toseland.
As in the first race, it was the Yamaha Motor Italia team-mates Andrew Pitt and Noriyuki Haga who led from the start, with Toseland third, Troy Bayliss fourth and Corser fifth.
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As the leading quintet pulled away, Yukio Kagayama continued a torrid opening weekend with a trip into the gravel,while both team-mate Fabien Foret, and Regis Laconi retired. Meanwhile Tory Corser moved from third to first in the space of two laps.
Corser began to sneak a slight lead over the Yamaha duo, as further down the field, Britain's Craig Jones managed a third crash of the weekend on the Petronas, and Frankie Chili suffered a major crash. Kagayama also pulled out on lap 12, ending a dismal start to the season after a great performance in race one.
As Troy Bayliss moved into second place the race started to heat up, with the finish four laps seeing Bayliss close on Corser by around 0.5 seconds every time round. The two Australians battled hard for the lead, but the Suzuki seemed to hold enough of a horsepower advantage to make things tough. The pair almost touched as they swapped the lead throughout the corners, until finally Bayliss made a slight mistake with just one corner to go. Toseland meanwhile was unlucky to just miss out taking third from Noriyuki Haga in the drag to the finish line.
It's another ex-champion, Troy Bayliss that leads the championship after the opening weekend with 40 points, from Corser and Toseland on 38.
Qatar race two results:
James Toseland has won the opening round of the 2006 World Superbike championship after an epic battle between Noriyuki Haga and Yukio Kagayama ended with the pair in the gravel trap on the final lap.
It was the Yamahas of Haga and team-mate Andrew Pitt who dominated the early stages of the race. Pitt led from the grid, but as Haga slipped through into the lead, the drama began behind them as Britain's Craig Jones crashed on the opening lap on the Foggy-Petronas FP-1.
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Lorenzo Lanzi had just posted the fastest lap when on lap four his factory Ducati threw him off in a big crash. Meanwhile the lead group of Haga, Pitt, Kagayama, Troy Bayliss and Troy Corser began to swap places.
By lap 11, Toseland had moved up from a terrible start which had seen him end the first lap in 10th place, and managed to move past Bayliss into fifth place. Lap 13 saw any real chance for Corser slip away as he appeared to almost touch Toseland in the battle for fourth, and slipped down to sixth behind Bayliss.
But it was at the front where the real battle got underway. Although friends away from the track, Kagayama and Haga began an epic battle with the lead swapping between them. On the penultimate lap the lead swapped three times on three following corners, and the scene was set for drama ont he last lap.
As Haga attempted to challenge Kagayama entering the hairpin, he appeared to lock the front wheel as Kagayama turned in, and both Japanese riders ended up in the gravel. Meanwhile a slight mistake by Bayliss gave Toseland enough space to take the win, with Andrew Pitt holding off Troy Corser for third to get a reward for his excellent performance in both qualifying and the early stages of the race. Michel Fabrizio grabbed an excellent, if lonely fifth, and looks promising for race two.
Qatar WSB Rd 1:
1. James Toseland.
2. Troy Bayliss.
3. Andrew Pitt.
4. Tory Corser.
5. Michel Fabrizio
6. Alex Barros.
7. Roberto Rolfo.
8. Pierfrancesco Chili.
9. Marco Borciani.
10. Max Neukirchner.
11. Norrick Abe.
12. Karl Muggeridge.
13. Regis Laconi.
14. Sebastien Gimbert.
15. Ruben Xaus.
16. Shinichi Nakatomi.
17. Vittorio Iannuzo.
18. Steve Martin.
19. Franco battaini.
20. Luca Pedercini.
21. Talal Al Naimi.
DNF: Craig Jones (crash), Lorenzo Lanzi (crash), Fabien Foret (machine), Fonsi Nieto (machine), Noriyuki Haga (crash), Yukio Kagayama (crash).
Following the drama of the first WSB race, World Supersport saw a calmer time for front runner and eventual winner Sebastien Charpentier. The Frenchman moved into the lead on the first lap on the Ten Kate Honda, and was able to maintain an advantage to the flag despite a spirited challenge from Kevin Curtain on the all-new Yamaha R6.
Ten Kate's Kenan Sofuoglu took third place on an impressive WSS debut, with Javier Fores fourth and Johan Stigefelt fifth.
British Superbike star Dean Thomas had a fantastic ride, challenging for sixth place despite the Qatar race being his first time on the Kawasaki ZX-6R and his first time at Losail. Sadly his dream start lasted until the penultimate lap when mechanical failure ended his race with disapointment.
But British fans were able to cheer on Tom Tunstall who came through from 23rd to take 14th position and earn points from his first race in World Supersport, just two places behind former WSB race winner Anthony Gobert.
Title hopeful Katsuaki Fujiwara suffered a major highside on the Megabike Honda, while Broc Parkers retired with emchanical failure.
Qatar World Supersport results:
11 Le Grelle
13 De Angelis
16 Van Keymeulen
22 Forner Garcia
DNF: Lauslehto. Veneman. Thomas. Andersen. Nedog. Berta. Berger. Fujiwara. Parkes. Leblanc.