Max Biaggi says a pair of fourth place finishes during the second round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship at Imola was the best he could hope for as Aprilia struggled to keep pace with Ducati, Kawasaki and BMW.
The Italian came into the weekend in high spirits following a remarkable turn of pace at the Phillip Island opener, his win and second place finish in Australia endowing him with a fairly comfortable early advantage in the overall standings.
However, despite being buoyed by the typically vocal Italian tifosi
, Biaggi cut a fairly anonymous figure throughout the weekend, missing the front row of the grid and never convincingly featuring in the battle for the lead.
Indeed, despite some determined efforts during the early stages of both races, Biaggi didn't have an answer to Carlos Checa, Tom Sykes or Leon Haslam as he was forced to watch the podium, rather than stand on it.
“We couldn't have done any better than we did today and the maths show it! Two identical placings, just off the podium, that I can say I'm fairly satisfied with. My only regret is for Race 2 because my team and I were able to make some improvements compared to the first, but unfortunately not enough to stay in the top three.
Nonetheless, though Biaggi has ceded the series lead to Checa, the slim four point margin means he is fairly unconcerned heading to the next event at Assen.
“We knew it would be difficult for us here and the low temperature didn't help. Now we're concentrating on Assen and how to react in order to make trouble for the leaders.”