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Biaggi takes charge as Haslam crashes out

31 May 2010

Max Biaggi is the World Superbike Championship leader for the first time this season after notching up a second win of the day at Miller Motorsports Park, while Leon Haslam crashed out of contention.

Biaggi had looked on course for a second place finish as he trailed a charging Carlos Checa early on, the Spaniard determined to make up for his retirement two laps from victory in race one.

However, for the second time today, he would capitalise on his former MotoGP rivals' desperate misfortune, Checa retiring with another technical problem on lap eight and promoting Biaggi into the lead.

Biaggi's day would improve further just seconds later when Haslam high-sided his Suzuki at Black Rock hairpin, an error that swings the tense pendulum firmly in the Aprilia rider's favour to the tune of 15 points.

An outstanding day for Aprilia, Leon Camier gave the team its first-ever WSBK 1-2 with a career-best ride to second position, the Briton catching and passing Troy Corser before resisting Cal Crutchlow.

Following his cruel retirement two laps from the chequered flag in race one, a determined looking Checa wasted no time in stamping his authority on proceedings as he defied Biaggi's better start to brake later into turn one and snatch the lead.

Biaggi settled into second, with Corser third after getting another excellent start from 15th on the grid, Camier fourth and Ruben Xaus fifth. Haslam, meanwhile, found himself down in tenth after getting baulked through the opening bends.

With a lead of over a second by the end of lap two, Checa was already looking on course to make amends this time around, the Althea Ducati man streaking away from Biaggi, who in turn had already shaken off the advances of Corser himself.

However, having been forced out by a broken cable on his fly-by-wire throttle in race one, Checa's dismal luck struck again at the end of lap seven as he began coasting to a halt, the Spaniard allowing himself a brief fit of passion as he shook his head and slapped his bike.

Checa's demise duly promoted Biaggi up into first position for the second time today, but it was what was going on behind him that could prove somewhat more significant later as the season progresses.

Haslam's charge had been going to plan, the Suzuki rider battling his way past James Toseland, Noriyuki Haga, Jonathan Rea and Ruben Xaus to claim fifth position by lap seven.

However, just as he was beginning to close on the battle for what was now second, Haslam committed his first big error in race conditions this season as he high-sided from the Suzuki Alstare. Seemingly unhurt as he attempted to get the GSX-R1000 going again, Haslam would admit defeat as his perfect finishing record came to a disappointing halt.

With Haslam out of contention, attention turned to the three riders disputing second, third and fourth, Corser leading Camier and Crutchlow, who was making stern progress up the order after a bad getaway from third.

Corser had looked comfortable in his position for much of the race, keeping Camier at arm's length as the Aprilia man dealt with the looming Crutchlow.

However, as has been apparent on a few occasions this season, Corser's BMW began to fade as the race moved into the second-half, allowing an aggressive looking Camier onto his tail.

The reigning British Superbike champion immediately announced his presence by snatching the position off Corser on lap 13, but with Crutchlow taking only a further lap to follow through, the battle for second was still on.

Nonetheless, Crutchlow was never able to get close enough to Camier to attempt a pass, allowing his countryman to cross the line for a new career-best result.

Significantly, the result also marks Aprilia's first 1-2 at World Superbike level and, coupled to Haslam's retirement, moves the Italian marque clear in the manufacturers' standings.

Crutchlow made up for his race one disappointment with a second podium of the season in third, while Noriyuki Haga completed one of his best weekend's this season with a run to fourth, the veteran catching and passing adversary Corser in the closing stages.

Having started the weekend well off the pace, Sylvain Guintoli gave his points' tally a boost with a run to sixth, the Frenchman capitalising from an off suffered by James Toseland, the former champion crashing out on lap 15.

Shane Byrne spared some blushes for the Althea team in seventh, ahead of a battered and bruised Jonathan Rea, who faded from an early position of sixth. Michel Fabrizio and Luca Scassa completed the top ten, but only after fighting their way from the back of the field, while Xaus couldn't maintain his early form as he slipped to 11th.

Behind Max Neukirchner in 12th, Chris Vermeulen managed his best result since returning to World Superbike as he beat Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes for the first time. With just 15 finishers, Broc Parkes scored a point in last position.


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