Motor Cycling: Bayliss secures crown

Troy Bayliss won his second World Superbike title with fifth place in the opening race at Imola in Italy.

Troy Bayliss won his second World Superbike title with fifth place in the opening race at Imola in Italy.

The Australian, who also won the title in 2001, took the championship for the Ducati Xerox team a few miles from the Italian manufacturer's Bologna factory.

Bayliss then won the second race ahead of Brazilian Alex Barros, who had won the first, as Britain's James Toseland edged ahead of Japanese rival Nori Haga in the battle for second in the series standings.

Bayliss had dominated the championship from the opening round and admitted his good start to the season had set him up well for the title.

He said: "We worked well at the start of the season, the second half of the season has been up and down but we have won the title. I've got a great team and I am comfortable on the Ducati. It's not been easy to win the title, it's been tough."

Bayliss had been in contention for the race one win early on but settled for fifth as Barros won ahead of Toseland and Australian Andrew Pitt.

It was Barros' first World Superbike race win and also for his Klaffi Honda team.

Toseland moved into second in the series standings ahead of Haga, Pitt's team-mate on the Yamaha Italia machine, who finished the race in fourth.

Chris Walker took 12th place on the PSG1 Kawasaki and fellow Briton Craig Jones was 17th on the Foggy Petronas FP1.

Race two saw Bayliss take the victory by just over a second from Barros.

Japan's Yukio Kagayama, a faller in race one on the Alstare Suzuki Corona machine, filled the third step of the podium.

Pitt claimed fourth to go with his race one third and Toseland again got the better of Haga, fifth place in this race moving the British rider two points clear with one round and two races remaining.

Walker finished the race in 14th to lie ninth in the points table with Jones taking 25th in the race to stand 27th.

* RYUICHI Kiyonari was crowned the Bennetts British Superbike Champion as he took a victory and then a second place to Leon Haslam in an incident-packed final round at Brands Hatch.

But there was heartbreak for defending champion Gregorio Lavilla who saw his hopes of retaining the crown for a second year ended when he crashed out on the opening lap of the restarted first race, and then was sidelined by a gearbox problem next time out. He could only watch disconsolately as the two pretenders for the crown slugged it out.

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