WSBK Rider of the Year vote: 2nd

You voted in your thousands, but there can only be one winner... This is's top ten countdown to the 2012 World Superbike Rider of the Year as voted for by you!
2. Max Biaggi

Nationality: Italian
Team: Aprilia Racing
Bike: Aprilia RSV4
Wins: 5
Podiums: 11
Championship points: 358
Championship position: 1st

He didn't win the most races in 2012. He started from pole position just once. He didn't even manage as many podiums as he did during an injury-interrupted 2011 season. And yet, despite falling short in nearly every statistical chart this year, Max Biaggi still emerged top of the most important one…

Indeed, it's remarkable to think that Biaggi heads into retirement with a second WSBK title despite accumulating a fairly meagre sum of five wins and 11 podiums, a tally that puts him behind Marco Melandri in the former category and Tom Sykes in the latter.

However, in a year that saw nine different race winners and 15 riders reach the podium, Biaggi's unending ability to extract the maximum from the Aprilia RSv4 – even on days when he wasn't looking terribly competitive – made the difference… 0.5 points worth of difference, to be exact.

One statistic that did work in Biaggi's favour, however, was his win in the opening race of the season (a good omen…), though he wouldn't see the podium again until round five at Donington Park. In that time, Carlos Checa had briefly nosed ahead before his season spiralled away, but from Assen onwards, Biaggi remained at the head of the standings.

With the masses seeing their challenges blunted by the intense competition lessening the impact of their winnings, a mid-season flurry of wins at Misano (a double) and Aragon had the effect of launching Biaggi into a fairly comfortable position out front.

However, from that point on, Biaggi's concentration appeared to waver somewhat, a couple of unhappy weekends at Brno and Silverstone (where he suffered his first DNF of the year) being followed by a spectacular mistake in Moscow when he wiped out BMW's Leon Haslam.

Coupled to Marco Melandri's devastating run of third-quarter form, Biaggi suddenly found himself demoted to second in the standings and seemingly slipping away from the title fight. A win at the Nurburgring proved the ideal response, though a fall in race two showed the pressure was still on.

With Melandri ruining his own chances with a flurry of errors, Biaggi looked to be back on course for the title win, even when Tom Sykes seemed to be engineering a late charge with his own success at Portimao.

In fact, Biaggi needn't have even stressed too much about the maths such was his advantage heading into the Magny-Cours finale, but the moment he hit the deck in the first race, the calculators were flung out. Suddenly, the pressure was very much on again and even though Biaggi needed a fairly meagre result in race two, his run to sixth place wasn't seen as the most convincing way to secure the WSBK crown…

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Biaggi, French WSBK Race 2 2012
Biaggi, French WSBK Race 2 2012
Biaggi, French WSBK Race 2 2012
Biaggi, 2012 WSBK Champion, French WSBK Race 2 2012
Aprilia pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Aprilia pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Eugene Laverty, Milwaukee Aprilia [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Lorenzo Savadori, Milwaukee Aprilia [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Air gun, Milwaukee Aprilia, Assen WSBK 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia data technician, Assen WSBK 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia switch gear, Assen WSBK 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia switch gear, Assen WSBK 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia, Assen WSBK 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia, Aragon WSBK 2017
Milwuakee Aprilia, Aragon WSBK 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia, Aragon WSBK 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia, Aragon WSBK 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia, Aragon WSBK 2017

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

professor-x - Unregistered

December 29, 2012 10:33 AM

Max had no control over his bike when he hit Haslam, and if you watch the replay you can see him trying to go in between Haslam and the guy in front of Haslam. Bad decision for Max to brake too late, but what happened was far from intentional. You want intentional spearing you should have watched Moto2.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.