When Marco Melandri assumed the lead of the World Superbike Championship standings last time out in Russia, there was certainly a sense that he was displaying the momentum he needed to take him all the way to the title.

Fast-forward two weeks and it's difficult to know exactly who has the upper hand with two rounds remaining after a chaotic pair of races at the Nurburgring that has served to close things up once again.

The headline where the title race is concerned is undoubtedly Max Biaggi regaining the lead from Melandri after the latter suffered an unprecedented double DNF through two front-end crashes.

Whether it is the first sign of pressure taking its toll on the Italian remains to be seen, but he will have had mixed emotions at the end of race two, Melandri no doubt happy that Biaggi's own fall prevented him from extending his advantage beyond 9.5 points, but no doubt frustrated that he should have taken advantage.

Ironically, the big winner of the day was arguably Tom Sykes, even if he didn't exactly capitalise fully on the situation that was presented to him as his 'longevity' issues returned. Even so, he was the only rider of the three to crack the top five in both races, which means the margin to the front is down to 26.5 points having started the weekend 41 points adrift.

Carlos Checa and Jonathan Rea hold station in fourth and fifth, despite crashing in race one, while Eugene Laverty's brace of second place finishes lifts him ahead of Leon Haslam up to sixth position.

However, the biggest gains would come from Chaz Davies, whose stunning maiden WSBK triumph, coupled to his podium in race one, catapults him from 11th to eighth overall and not too far from Leon Haslam in seventh either.

Sylvain Guintoli dips to ninth, while Davide Giugliano holds onto tenth and Michel Fabrizio slips to 11th following his double DNF. Having now reeled off a trio of consecutive top five finishes, Leon Camier has risen from 15th to 12th and is now only 21.5 points shy of getting his Suzuki into the top ten overall.

A disastrous day for BMW at the one circuit they were looking to impress, not only has Biaggi moved in front of Melandri in the riders' standings, but they had to suffer the indignity of watching Aprilia pick up a 1-2-3 in race one and a 1-2 in race two. As such, their seemingly comfortable advantage in the manufacturers' reckoning is now a 7.5 disadvantage to the Italian marque...

2012 eni World Superbike Championship rider standings (After round 12 of 14, previous championship standing in brackets)

1. (2) Max Biaggi Aprilia Racing 318 points
2. (1) Marco Melandri BMW Motorrad 308.5
3. (3) Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing 291.5
4. (4) Carlos Checa Althea Ducati 247.5
5. (5) Jonathan Rea Honda WSBK 225.5
6. (7) Eugene Laverty Aprilia Racing 213.5
7. (6) Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 189
8. (11) Chaz Davies ParkinGO MTC Aprilia 156.5
9. (8) Sylvain Guintoli Effenbert Liberty Ducati/PATA Ducati 143.5
10. (10) Davide Giugliano Althea Ducati 125
11. (9) Michel Fabrizio BMW Italia GoldBet 119.5
12. (15) Leon Camier FIXI Crescent Suzuki 104.5
13. (14) Ayrton Badovini BMW Italia GoldBet 99
14. (13) Loris Baz Kawasaki Racing 98
15. (12) Jakub Smrz Liberty Effenbert Ducati 92.5
16. (16) Maxime Berger Effenbert Liberty Ducati 74
17. (17) Lorenzo Zanetti PATA Ducati 61
18. (18) Hiroshi Aoyama Honda WSBK 51.5
19. (19) Niccolo Canepa Red Devils Roma Ducati 42.5
20. (20) John Hopkins Crescent Fixi Suzuki 35
21. (21) David Salom Pedercini Kawasaki 19
22. (22) Joan Lascorz Kawasaki Racing 17
23. (23) Leandro Mercado Pedercini Kawasaki 9
24. (24) Peter Hickman FIXI Crescent Suzuki 7
25. (25) Matteo Baiocco Barni Ducati 7
26. (26) Bryan Staring Pedercini Kawasaki 6
27. (27) Alex Polita Red Devils Roma Ducati 4
28. (28) Alexander Lundh Pedercini Kawasaki 4
29. (29) Norino Brignola Grillini Progea BMW 3
30. (30) Mark Aitchison Grillini Progea BMW 3
31. (-) Lorenzo Lanzi Effenbert Liberty Ducati 2
32=. (-) Brett McCormick Effenbert Liberty Ducati 1
32=. (31) Josh Brookes FIXI Crescent Suzuki 1

2012 World Superbike Championship manufacturer standings

1. (2) Aprilia 384.5 points
2. (1) BMW 377
3. (3) Ducati 342
4. (4) Kawasaki 322.5
5. (5) Honda 240
6. (6) Suzuki 120.5


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