Max Biaggi says he is more than satisfied with his third and fourth place finishes at Kyalami, around a circuit he admits the Aprilia Alitalia team had initially feared.
Fresh from his double victory at Monza last week, Biaggi was keen to carry the momentum he showed on home ground through to Kyalami, but accepted the bumpy South African circuit was unlikely to play to the RSV-4's strengths.
Despite this, Biaggi put in a feisty performance come race day as he battled back from a tardy start in race one to finish fourth, before challenging for the lead in race two.
Although he would eventually be forced to settle for third behind Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea, Biaggi suggests the results were better than he had originally anticipated.
"It was a great race in the places that counted. Haslam, Rea and I overtook each other which I think made for a great show. Both from second and third place I tried several times to overtake but it is really very difficult here - there is practically one line which everyone has to follow.
“Haslam was very fast and raced well, keeping to his lines. But for me a podium is really a good result, this third place on a circuit which is really very, very complicated for us is to be accepted with satisfaction.
While it also means Haslam has extended his lead over Biaggi in the overall standings, from three to 15 points, the former GP star believes he can show his 'true potential' in the coming races.
“In light of the two races, considering the fourth place in race 1, I'd say that one of the transfers we feared the most came out well. The gap from the top moves a bit back and forth, but the championship is still very long. I think we can be satisfied with this weekend in Africa and now I can't wait to arrive at the next races to show our true potential.
“The guys on the team have done a great job, but tracks like this one bring out the best experience in our competitors. In particular we still need to work on acceleration which makes things a bit difficult for us coming out of the mid-slow turns.”
Now max is second in the world rankings with 207 points, 15 lengths behind Haslam at the front and 66 points ahead of Rea and Checa who are tied in third place.
Leon Camier, who in race 1 had raced on the attack earning a nice sixth place, instead had an unlucky race. Delayed by technical problems (probably tyres which are now being checked) and little by little made him lose ground and fall back to the rear until he threw in the towel on the eighteenth lap.
Max Biaggi had positive comments both about race 2 and the entire South African round: