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Biaggi proves title credentials with double

10 June 2012

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Max Biaggi leaves the seventh round of the 2012 eni World Superbike Championship with a significantly swelled lead in the standings after cruising to a second win of the day at Misano.

Having won the opening race with a fine ride up the field from the third row, Biaggi enjoyed a significantly smoother run to victory in the second encounter, with a strong opening lap aiding a swift charge to the front.

Indeed, with warmer temperatures descending on the Rimini circuit, Biaggi seemingly had it all to do again from tenth on the grid but quickly overcame that disadvantage by lifting himself to fifth place through the opening few turns.

Fifth duly became third when Davide Giugliano and Leon Haslam got crossed up with one another and lost themselves some speed onto straight, Biaggi sat just behind leader Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea as they rounded the opening lap.

Making the most of his advantageous position, Biaggi wasted no time in dispatching Rea as they sped across the home straight at the start of lap three, before proceeding to relieve Sykes of the lead on lap four.

Adding to his delight, almost simultaneously to Biaggi snatching the lead, his biggest rival from the opening race, Carlos Checa, was seen tumbling out of seventh. Caught out at turn four by a pass from Marco Melandri, the ensuing contact would force the Spaniard down into another costly non-score – his fifth of the season.

The clash came just two laps after Melandri was involved in another skirmish with Sylvain Guintoli, the Frenchman coming down at turn one. However, while Melandri was subsequently put under investigation by race direction, no penalty was administered during the race.

Buoyed by the elimination of potentially his biggest rival, Biaggi found himself in a class of his own as he multiplied his lead over the chasing pack, which continued to be led by Sykes, who in turn now had Giugliano, Haslam and Rea for company.

Following his excellent run to the podium in race one, Giugliano's quest for a double rostrum came to an abrupt conclusion on lap six when he slid out at the final corner to complete a dismal end to the day for Althea Racing.

His demise lifted Haslam up to third place, though Rea would regain the position on lap nine before proceeding to get the better of Sykes for second on lap eleven. Haslam would duly go with him, but while the pair would ride away from their followers, the gap to Biaggi was far too large to bridge.

Indeed, at time Biaggi would lap more than a second faster than his opposition, his advantage eventually stabilising around seven seconds as he cruised through the second-half of the race.

With the home straight all to himself as he crossed the finish line, Biaggi completed a comprehensive second win of the day. In turn, his lead in the overall standings has increased from 18 points to 38.5 points over Rea, while reigning champion Checa finds himself 60 points adrift now.

Fending off the persistent attentions of Haslam, Rea completed a strong podium finish on the Honda to improve his position in the overall standings, while British BMW rider brought home his fourth rostrum of the year in third.

Seemingly escaping punishment for his earlier indiscretions, Melandri held off a determined Ayrton Badovini for a valuable fourth place finish, though the latter will likely rue the mid-race error that allowed his BMW counterpart through and scuppered his podium challenge.

His team-mate Michel Fabrizio made it a BMW 3-4-5-6 after out-sprinting the Kawasakis to the finish line, Tom Sykes just resisting the increasingly impressive Loris Baz for seventh and eighth, while Jakub Smrz wandered home a lonely ninth.

A race of fairly high attrition, Checa, Giugliano, Guintoli, Eugene Laverty, Leon Camier and Chaz Davies all crashed out of top ten positions during the race.

As such, Matteo Baiocco was able to turn in a positive tenth place finish for the wild-card Barni Ducati team, the local rider fending off Maxime Berger, Hiroshi Aoyama and Niccolo Canepa.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki duo John Hopkins and Leon Camier picked up the final points, the former losing time with a run across the gravel on lap one, while the latter was recovering from a crash on lap six.


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