Vermeulen expects Toseland and Bayliss battle
Factory Suzuki MotoGP rider Chris Vermeulen reckons home favourite James Toseland and fellow Aussie Troy Bayliss will be the stars of the show in this weekend’s crucial Donington Park World Superbike clash.
Former World Superbike runner-up Vermeulen, who is in his second year in MotoGP with the British-based Rizla Suzuki squad, said he expects another titanic battle between Toseland and Bayliss on Sunday (April 1, 2007).
Ten Kate Honda rider Toseland and reigning WSB champion Bayliss dominated the last round of the series at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia, and Vermeulen expects more of the same this weekend at the 2.5 mile Leicestershire circuit.
“Bayliss is going fast and riding well and everyone expected him to be up front at Phillip Island, he always is there. I thought he would have won both races there but a first and second isn’t bad,” said the Australian.
“The Honda looks very strong in top speed but it is also working well off the corners and that’s where the Ducati has always been strong.
The 24-year-old reckons Toseland is capable of continuing his brilliant start to the season to lift his second WSB crown.
“The Honda has some extra power but at the tight and twisty tracks I think it will be a little more equal. The Ducati couldn’t win at Phillip Island with Toseland behind in the slipstream and Troy would have needed to pull a gap,” said Vermeulen, who lies seventh in the MotoGP world championship after the opening two races of the season.
Toseland has won two out of the opening four rounds of the 2007 WSB series and is looking to increase the 16-point lead he currently has over Italian Suzuki rival Max Biaggi. Bayliss is third in the current standings trailing Toseland by 26-points.
Toseland has only dropped 10 points in the first four races and Vermeulen said: “He’s won it before. I like James. He’s a really nice guy.
“I don’t think he’s the most talented rider but I think he works harder than anyone else out there. He didn’t fold in 2004 when he won the championship and there was a lot of pressure on him because it came down to who won would keep their job at Ducati.
“There was that much pressure with him and (Regis) Laconi and he didn’t fold at all.”