Max Biaggi leaves the opening round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island with a comfortable advantage in the overall standings after showing both sides of his racing ability with a dominant win in race one and a magnificent fight back to second in race two.
Emabrking on two very different races in order to achieve two similar results, the Italian cruised to victory in race one when Carlos Checa crashed out of the lead ahead of him whilst under pressure from the Aprilia rider.
Marking the perfect start to the season for Biaggi, he went into the second race eyeing a double, but looked to have had his hopes of a good result scuppered when he clipped Tom Sykes mid-way around the first corner and was sent off the track and over the grass.
Re-joining the race in last position, Biaggi put the hammer down to scythe his way back up the order, on average passing one bike every lap to emerge in a remarkable second place, behind Checa.
Arguably one of his finest career performances, Biaggi was delighted with the outcome of his day, not least because it was done with the assistance of an all-new engineering team.
“After such a difficult winter this is extremely satisfying for me," said Biaggi, who hasn't won at Phillip Island since the 2000 500cc Australian Grand Prix.
"I worked without sparing myself and during the testing here at Phillip Island we truly tried a lot of things and the results prove us right. The first weekend with my new team puts us out front and I have to thank both my guys and Aprilia for that.
“Race one was great, and the second one maybe even better. After running off the track I only thought about focusing and giving my all, because coming back from last place is always risky. We succeeded. We're taking home two good results and now there is nothing left to do but keep the tension high to confirm our strength at Imola.”
In addition to leading the standings, Biaggi also had the honour of breaking Troy Corser's Phillip Island lap record, achieved on a Yamaha in 2007.