Max Biaggi found the positives of his run to third position in the 2011 World Superbike Championship standings by stating his intention to return to his trademark 'No.3' race number next season.
The Italian came into the 2011 season determined to retain his title, but didn't reach the top of the podium until Motorland Aragon midway through the year, while his fading bid came to an abrupt halt at the Nurburgring when a foot injury sidelined him for three of the remaining four rounds.
As such, Biaggi's return to action at Portimao would see him embroiled in a fight for third in the standings with Eugene Laverty, a position that looked to be going in the latter's favour when Biaggi could only qualify in third position.
However, Laverty's retirement in race one, coupled to Biaggi's excellent charge to fourth stacked the odds back in his favour.
Even so, Laverty came out fighting in race two, while Biaggi had it all to do again from 17th, his push up the order stopping at seventh position. Ironically though, Biaggi would have arch-nemesis Marco Melandri to thank for the late pass on Laverty that would leave the pair level on points at the end of the race.
With count-back deciding who would secure third, though Biaggi and Laverty were equal on race wins, the former's greater number of second place finishes would give him the nod – leaving him clear to resume his famed 'No.3' moniker for 2012.
“It's a shame about the start in the second race, decidedly worse than the first. During both comebacks I obviously stressed the tyres quite a bit, but in any case I was able to bring a fourth and seventh place home after starting from the seventeenth block on the grid.
“Lap times were good, but unfortunately in Race 2 I began to feel my lack of physical preparation. It was a positive weekend because, having taken third place in the overall standings, I'll be able to keep the number 3 on my fairing for the 2012 season.”