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Santander Yamaha's Noriyuki Haga has taken the first Vallelunga World Superbike race in Italy this morning after close dice with hometown rider Max Biaggi.

The Samurai of Slide rode a tactical race, just doing enough to keep the Sterilgarda Ducati man behind him and team-mate Troy Corser in third.

After an entertaining opening salvo of laps which saw champion-elect Troy Bayliss hit the front and try to move away, it became somewhat procession-like as Bayliss was shuffled down the pack. Ryuichi Kiyonari also put in a spirited handful of laps but crashed out on the third circuit.


Haga, Biaggi and Corser moved away from Bayliss and by the halfway mark, the Aussie had also been passed by Carlos Checa, who began his charge to the front.

The Ten Kate man worked his way up to the rear wheel of Corser and managed to get past after Corser ran wide. The Aussie, however, went straight back past when Checa made a similar mistake but it slowed both riders, allowing Haga and Biaggi to pull away.

It looked to be a two-horse race until Corser found some pace and pulled himself back up to Biaggi. However, despite lapping four-tenths of a second quicker than the men in front, Corser couldn't find a way past and had to settle for third.

Alstare Suzuki's Max Neukirchner snuck past Bayliss and Checa for fourth after Bayliss had a massive moment and almost crashed. Britain's Chris Walker was 18th.

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