Peerless Biaggi breaks 2011 duck
19 June 2011
Max Biaggi has won his first World Superbike Championship race of the season at Motorland Aragon, the reigning champion making amends for his race one faux pas by forcing Marco Melandri into a mistake this time.
The Italian led from the first corner right to the chequered flag, though he spent three-quarters of the second encounter being shadowed by race one winner Melandri, forcing him to keep things neat.
Indeed, Biaggi, whose costly mistake just four laps from home in race one allowed Melandri to sneak through to an eventual victory, looked strong from the start as he swept into the opening bend with the lead.
Pole sitter Melandri held onto second, despite a brief moment when Tom Sykes muscled his way between them, the pair proceeding to sprint into another comfortable lead battle.
Similarly to the first race, Melandri maintained close company with Biaggi through the bends, but appeared to be losing out most crucially down the back straight, preventing him from launching an attack.
As the race reached its closing stages, Biaggi was coolly resisting Melandri's attentions, a challenge that was rewarded on lap 15 when the Yamaha rider made the error into the first turn. Coming close to losing the front-end, Melandri collected the YZF-R1 to resume in second place, but five seconds was lost to his rival.
It was more than enough for Biaggi to ease home the winner, his first win this season having occupied the second spot on the rostrum eight times already.
A strong points' haul for the Aprilia rider, though series leader Carlos Checa limited the damage to his advantage with a fairly quiet run to third, Biaggi comes away from Motorland Aragon having reduced the margin from 75 points to 43 points.
Indeed, Checa – who crashed out of the first race - didn't have an answer to Biaggi and Melandri, but was able to recover to third after getting bundled down the order initially.
Having suffered with his arm injury throughout the weekend, Michel Fabrizio rewarded himself with a run to fourth place, the Suzuki rider even getting close to Checa before fading during the closing stages.
A second career top five finish for Joan Lascorz was a fine conclusion to a strong race day for the local favourite, though Kawasaki will be ruing not achieving a better result after his team-mate Sykes crashed out of a fairly comfortable fifth place.
Eugene Laverty was punished for a poor start that left him down in 16th initially, though he would fight his way back up to sixth, at the expense of Noriyuki Haga, while race one podium winner Leon Camier had a strangely low-key afternoon as he finished a distant eighth.
Leon Haslam completed a difficult weekend with the small satisfaction of beating fellow BMW rider Ayrton Badovini to ninth place, the first time in five races the factory squad has finished ahead of its satellite counterpart.
A fairly dismal weekend for Effenbert-Liberty Ducati would see Jakub Smrz crash out of his fourth race in succession, while Sylvain Guintoli would also miss the top ten in 11th.
Pedercini Kawasaki duo Mark Aitchison and Roberto Rolfo completed a double points' haul in 12th and 13th, while Chris Vermeulen and Lorenzo Lanzi rounded out the top fifteen.
As well as Sykes and Smrz, Troy Corser and Maxime Berger came down after colliding on the opening lap, while Ruben Xaus's failure to finish means Honda scores no points in Spain.