Max Biaggi will take a comfortable 30.5 point lead over Tom Sykes into the final round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship after his two solid finishes at Portimao were boosted by misfortune for his main rivals.
The Italian came into the weekend with a slender 9.5 point lead over Marco Melandri in the standings, but always stood to increase his advantage when the BMW rider crashed on the opening lap after making contact with Biaggi.
Though Biaggi stayed upright, the ensuing melee behind not only eliminated the injured Melandri from race one, but would also prevent him from even making the start of race two.
With this in mind, Biaggi opted for relative caution for the remainder of the day, holding on for a fourth place finish in an interrupted first race before claiming third in the second race in the wake of Sykes's technical-induced retirement.
Indeed, Sykes now stands as Biaggi's biggest rival with just the final round at Magny-Cours to come, but with only 50 points now available, the Aprilia rider knows a pair of top five finishes in France would be enough to claim a second world title.
Even so, despite the positive circumstances, Biaggi is remaining focused on the job in hand ahead of the critical French event.
"Two really hard races, strange from certain points of view,” he said. “In race one the conditions were completely different from the practice sessions and even in race two on a dry track the grip wasn't the best.
“Considering these difficulties and a lot of contact with the other riders, I'm happy with a fourth and third place which reconfirm my lead in the standings. Now we'll begin preparations for the last round in Magny Cours, as always putting forth our best effort.”
Despite his good results, Biaggi did have to part with 5,000 Euros after failing to pull in when the red flag was deployed in race one. No time penalty was imposed.