Xaus Gets His First

Cycle News Staff | June 29, 2008

Spaniard Ruben Xaus reversed his fortunes from race one to lead teammate Max Biaggi to a one-two Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati sweep in the eighth round of the World Superbike Championship double-header at Misano Adriatico in Italy. Ducati Xerox’s Troy Bayliss was third. It was Xaus’s first win of the season, the first one-two finish for the team, and the first podium sweep of the year for Ducati. Xaus had started strongly in the first race, leading for the first 14 laps before fading to fade to fourth at the finish, ten laps later. In race two, he was also strong at the start, but not running point and content to chase early leaders Bayliss and Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia). The Australians had a dogged fight for much of the race. Bayliss led until Corser forced his way past on lap five, then Bayliss returned the favor on lap 15. But Corser was resolute and Xaus, who’d fallen over three seconds back on lap 12, was closing from third. Xaus passed Corser on lap 18, pushing the former world champion wide in the Tramonto corner. Now he set out for Bayliss, who he took on the inside of the Quercia left on lap 20. Also on lap 20 Corser passed Bayliss on the last right, but a corner or two later got it wrong and ran on, dropping back to fifth and promoting Biaggi to third and Yamaha Motor Italia’s Nori Haga to fourth. Then it was Bayliss’s turn to make a mistake, in the same corner as Corser, dropping to third behind Biaggi on lap 21. Xaus was determined to stay in front, and he did, holding off Biaggi by over a second. Then, three seconds on, came Bayliss, who despite finishing third stretched his championship lead. With eight of 14 rounds complete, Bayliss has 259 points to 210 for Alstare Suzuki’s Max Neukirchner, the first race winner who was a distant seventh in race two. Yamaha Motor Italia teammates Haga and Corser finished fourth and fifth, with a gap of almost seven seconds to R.G. Team’s Lorenzo Lanzi (Duc). Neukirchner was next, then a trio fighting for eighth, won by Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa over Guandalini Racing by Grifo’s Jakub Smrz, and Suzuki Alstare’s Fonsi Nieto. Alto Evolution Honda’s Jason Pridmore had a mechanical problem on the final lap. Race Two: 1. Ruben Xaus (Ducati) 2. Max Biaggi (Ducati) 3. Troy Bayliss (Ducati) 4. Nori Haga (Yamaha) 5. Troy Corser (Yamaha) 6. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) 7. Max Neukirchner (Suzuki) 8. Carlos Checa (Honda) 9. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 10. Fonsi Nieto (Suzuki)