Defending champion Troy Corserbegan the year with a well-sorted bike
The podium after the second leg, with Corser first, Bayliss second and Haga third
Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra team manager Francis Batta on the rostrum with Corser after leg two
The class of 2006 gets together for the traditional first round group pic
Corser, Bayliss and Kagayama
Kagayama, Chris Walker, Lorenzo Lanzi and Norick Abe
Kagayama, Fabrizio, Borciani, Abe
Troy Corser during a pre-race publicity session - neat sword heh!
The Superbike competitors for 2006 surround 2005 champ Troy Corser
The Ducati Xerox team of Bayliss and Lanzi and some locals - more neat swords!
The 2006 999 works Ducati doesn't have excess horsepower but can lap with the best of the bikes at present - the Bayliss aggression will be required to make it win
After two decades of MotoGP, Alex Barross settled in well on a new type of bike and a new format. He won a GP last year and has had few miles on the beastie, so watch out when he gets accustomed to the machine
Bayliss won pole by a fair margin
Two of the gentlemen of the sport ham it up - James Toseland and Troy Bayliss
First round, first race, ready for the start
Nori Haga in full flight on the new R1 - Haga regards this as the best chance he will get to win a title
Andrew Pitt scored his first ever Superbike podium and we suspect he'll be there a few more times over the remainder of the season - a genuine contender in 2006
Haga, Pitt, Toseland, Corser, Baylissand Muggeridge
As near as you can get to a dead heat without actually having one - Haga pips Toseland by a gnat's whisker
Last race, last lap, Bayliss and Corser going at it for the win - Corser won the race, Bayliss won the round
Race one podium with Bayliss, Toseland and Pitt
The sleeper of the pre-season was the Yamaha - everyone was watching the Hondas and the Yamahas slipped under the radar.
Chili, Walker, Barros
Fabrizio will take a mass of points this year - one to watch
Pitt and Haga pretend they're not really teammates
The Ten Kate boys and a hunting falcon - Muggeridge, Toseland, Suofuglu
Toseland, Corser, Bayliss
Toseland, Fabrizio, Chili
February 26, 2006 The World Superbike and Supersport Championships got underway on Saturday at the Losail circuit in Qatar, and already the indications are that both championships will see a much closer result than last season. Troy Bayliss returned to the Ducati Xerox superbike team after three years in MotoGP, and after the first two races of the year he leads the title with 40 points (two second places) from 2005 Champ Troy Corser’s Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra and James Toseland’s Winston Ten Kate Honda which both scored a win and a fourth place for 38 points. Had it not been for a first race crash by Yamaha Motor Italia rider Noriyuki Haga, who took out Corser’s Suzuki teammateYukio Kagayama with both riders battling for the win, the vastly improved Yamaha might have taken the win. With at least four makes capable of winning, the 13-round, 26-race series looks set for yet another year of spectacular racing. In the Supersports class Yamaha’s ride-by-wire 2006 Yamaha YZF-R6 debuted with a second place and promises a realistic threat to dominant Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR rider Sebastien Charpentier as the season unfolds.
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