Crash.Net WSBK News
Biaggi turns tables on Melandri
10 July 2011
Max Biaggi has taken victory in the second World Superbike race of the day at Brno after soaking up pressure from a determined Marco Melandri in a grandstand finish.
Having fought from start-to-finish in race one, a similar set up would emerge in the second encounter as Biaggi and Melandri assumed the top two positions by the end of the opening lap.
Never drifting more than half a second apart, though Biaggi led for the majority of the race, Melandri's bold pass on the penultimate lap threatened to deny the reigning champion once again. Nonetheless, Biaggi stayed cool to regain the lead shortly afterwards before resisting Melandri to the chequered flag in a thrilling final two laps.
A remarkably similar race to that which occurred earlier in the day, Biaggi got away best to lead Eugene Laverty, though Melandri would soon push through into second place and swiftly move onto the tail of Biaggi.
Behind, Carlos Checa would also go with the top two after dispatching of Laverty, while Michel Fabrizio would attempt to do the same as he jumped ahead of the Irishman into fourth.
As it happens, though the top five remained within fairly close company during the first-half of the race, only Biaggi and Melandri would dispute the lead.
That mantle was handed to Melandri on lap ten when he passed Biaggi into turn three, only for his countryman to return the favour on lap twelve. Even so, just as had been the case in race one, Melandri was looking poised in second place, shadowing Biaggi as he looked for the best opportunity to pounce.
The move came with less than two laps to go as Melandri dived through into turn three, but having learnt from before, Biaggi promptly fought back and was through again within four corners. With Melandri showing his hand, Biaggi proceeded to keep his lines neat and tight, Melandri – now suffering with evident tyre wear – unable to find a gap on the Aprilia.
As such, Biaggi was able to complete only his second win of the season, but one that sees him reduce Checa's margin in the overall standings for a fourth successive race. With Checa finishing a fairly distant third, the pair are now split by 30 points, while Melandri is once again a further 23 points back.
Mirroring the results of the first race, Checa led Michel Fabrizio and Eugene Laverty in fourth and fifth positions, while Ayrton Badovini completed another strong points' haul in sixth position as he consolidates his new peak of eighth in the standings.
Behind, Leon Haslam came through into seventh place after a fierce tussle with Joan Lascorz ended with the pair making contact on the exit of the final corner, the BMW man just edging his Kawasaki rival. Despite this, eighth sees Lascorz leapfrog his team-mate Tom Sykes in the standings, the Briton finishing down in 14th.
Sylvain Guintoli and Noriyuki Haga rounded out the top ten after a fairly quiet day, ahead of Pedercini Kawasaki duo Roberto Rolfo and Mark Aitchison, BMW Italia stand-in Lorenzo Lanzi, Sykes and wild-card Viktor Kispataki, who made the most of the retirements to score a point on his WSBK debut.
Meanwhile, Leon Camier suffered a costly retirement when he crashed out of 11th position, while Alex Lowes's maiden WSBK weekend came to a similarly destructive end on lap five. His retirement compounded a poor day for Castrol Honda after Ruben Xaus didn't make the second start, along with Chris Vermeulen.