Biaggi opens up top at Brno

Max Biaggi opened up the latest round of the World Superbike Championship at Brno in style by dominating free practice around the Czech Republic circuit.

The Italian, who scored a podium at last year's event, was in charge from the ten minute mark, his early effort of 2mins 01.375secs staving off the attentions of his rivals for the remainder of the session, despite some quick late laps that got close.

Although still nursing an ankle injury from Donington Park, the Aprilia rider capitalised on a recent test at Brno to eventually finish with a best lap of 2mins 01.353secs.

His closest competition came from John Hopkins, who scaled the timesheets in the latter stages with a lap that got within four hundredths of Biaggi's. The American was also present at a Brno test recently, but he remained 1.4secs quicker than Stiggy Honda team-mate Leon Haslam.

Ben Spies was another to leave it late as he learnt his way around one of the longer circuits on the World Superbike calendar, the title chaser going third quickest.

The American will also be heartened to see Noriyuki Haga, returning to action for the first time since his accident at Donington Park, could only manage the 18th fastest lap as he eases himself back into competition.

Haga's team-mate Michel Fabrizio shadowed Spies in fourth position, ahead of Troy Corser, the Australian proving a consistent top five performer throughout the hour on the BMW.

It was an encouraging session all round for the German manufacturer, with Ruben Xaus not far behind in eighth position, just half a second off the leaders on BMW's first visit to the circuit.

Ryuichi Kiyonari and Carlos Checa filled the void between them in sixth and seventh for Ten Kate Honda, with Yukio Kagayama on the sole Suzuki Alstare Brux in ninth and Lorenzo Lanzi a solid tenth on one of two DFX Ducatis competing this weekend.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Rea was just outside the leading positions in 11th, while Kawasaki showed decent top ten form midway through the session, even if returnee Makoto Tamada and Broc Parkes would end up 12th and 14th respectively.

Even so, that placed them ahead of some more fancied riders, with Shane Byrne 16th and home favourite Jakub Smrz 17th. With Haga in 18th, it has been an inauspicious start to the weekend for Ducati.

Haslam was 19th fastest, with Tom Sykes a disappointing 21st.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Biaggi, British WSBK Race 2 2009
Biaggi, Race start, British WSBK Race 2 2009
Biaggi, British WSBK Race 2 2009
Biaggi, British WSBK Race 2 2009
Biaggi, British WSBK Race 2 2009
Biaggi, San Marino WSBK Race 2 2009
Ducati pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Aprilia pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Aprilia pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
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Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Spies, WSBK Race1, Misano WSBK 2017
Spies, WSBK Race1, Misano WSBK 2017
Sykes and Spies, Misano WSBK 2017
Jonathan Rea and Spies, Misano WSBK 2017
Melandri and Spies, Misano WSBK 2017

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phate - Unregistered

July 24, 2009 3:40 PM

@DelRacer how dare you compare sbk to motogp? i like Ben, I'm sure he can do well in motogp, but what you're saying is what many people were saying two years ago about James Toseland. Racing in motogp is racing to the very limit, that's why every hundredth of a second can make a difference in winning or losing, and that's why the doctor is a master. Before blurting out such heresy like "Ben can beat VR" just take a step back and think before talking. Rossi is a legend of the sport. Ben is nothing compared to him. Still, I like him a lot and again I am with you in wishing him a motogp future. But dear god don't even think that winning sbk races automatically makes him able to beat everyone.

Truefan 10 - Unregistered

July 24, 2009 9:46 PM

Ben Spies is obviously a real talent for the future and will undoubtedly have a future in MotoGP, but you cannot compare the two classes. Even Troy Bayliss failed when he had competitive machinery with both the Camel Honda and Ducati,Haga failed big time. Toseland is struggling,but may'be Spies will adapt to the Yamaha much quicker than JT. But he wont be a winner straight out of the box.. Rossi is getting older and has to look out for his much younger team mate, who has him in his sights at a fraction of the cost. Think on it Yamaha. I wouldn't let Jorge go, he's your future champion..

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