Alstare Suzuki’s Max Neukirchner used a methodical ride through the field to win the first leg of the World Superbike double-header at Misano Adriatico, Italy, site of the eighth of 14 rounds of the World Superbike Championship. Yamaha Motor Italia’s Troy Corser was second, with Xerox Ducati’s Troy Bayliss third. The race began with Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati’s Ruben Xaus taking the lead and maintaining a tenuous grip over a trio of riders, the top four all looking for their first win of the season. Meanwhile, Neukirchner was patiently finding his way from tenth on the grid. Seventh on lap one of 24, the German improved to sixth on lap four, fifth on lap nine, then fourth on lap 11. At that point it was Xaus, Corser and Bayliss, with Neukirchner just under a second back, with early front-runners Max Biaggi (Duc) and Lorenzo Lanzi (Duc) about to become non-players. Fabrizio, attempting a too-bold pass on Biaggi, fell at the Tramonto Corner, skittling Biaggi off and gesturing towards his fellow Italian, although it appeared to be Fabrizio who was at fault. On the 12th lap Neukirchner passed Bayliss to take third and immediately gapped the world champion while in pursuit of Xaus and Corser. It took four laps before he passed the fading Xaus, and only one more to take the lead from Corser, who he would prevent from winning his first race of the year. Corser remained a persistent threat for the final seven laps, but came up .542 secs. short. The win was Neukirchner’s second of the year-his first came in Monza-and boosted his championship hopes. Points leader Bayliss passed the fading Xaus three laps from the end to take third, at 2.25 secs. That left him with 243 points, still 42 up on Neukirchner, who took second in the standings from Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa. Checa finished fifth in race one, 2.4 secs. behind Xaus and only a tenth up on R.G. Team’s Lanzi (Duc). Guandalini Racing by Grifo’s Jakub Smrz (Duc) was less than a second back in seventh. Then a gap of 12 seconds to a three-way battle for eighth. It went to Ventaxia VK Honda’s Gregorio Lavilla, narrowly over YZF Yamaha’s Shinya Nakatomi, and Yamaha Motor Italia’s Nori Haga. Alto Evolution Honda’s Jason Pridmore retired on the seventh lap. Race One: 1. Max Neukirchner (Suzuki) 2. Troy Corser (Yamaha) 3. Troy Bayliss (Ducati) 4. Ruben Xaus (Ducati) 5. Carlos Checa (Honda) 6. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) 7. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 8. Gregorio Lavilla (Honda) 9. Shinya Nakatomi (Yamaha) 10. Nori Haga (Yamaha)

World Superbike News

By Cycle News Staff

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