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Biaggi restores authority, Haslam struggles

11 July 2010

Max Biaggi has put himself well on course to win the 2010 World Superbike Championship after claiming his fifth win in six races at Brno, while Leon Haslam could only manage tenth place.

The Italian entered into a battle with race one winner and early leader Jonathan Rea during the first few laps, but once past on lap seven, Biaggi would cruise to what is now his ninth victory of the year.

The latest result in a relentless run of form for the Italian, Biaggi's quest to win this year's title has also been given a significant boost after Haslam ailed to a mere tenth place finish. Coming into the weekend with a 37 point advantage over Haslam, with four rounds left to run, Biaggi is now 68 points up on the Suzuki rider.

Having romped to a clear win in race one, early indications suggested Rea could be on for a double as he shuffled his way to the front through the opening turns, followed by Ruben Xaus, Biaggi, Michel Fabrizio and slow starting pole man Cal Crutchlow.

With poor early race pace scuppering his chances of fighting for victory in the first encounter, Biaggi looked considerably feistier on this occasion as he passed Xaus for second on lap three and quickly latched onto Rea.

Shadowing the Honda rider for several laps, Biaggi eventually made his move on the run up the hill and into turn two on lap seven.

Rea attempted to stay with him, but two laps of close attention was all he could manage before Biaggi began to put air between himself and his rival.

Proceeding to set an 'unbelievable' pace, Biaggi would not be troubled again as he lapped consistently quicker than any other ride on the circuit, crossing the line almost five seconds up on Rea.

An astonishing tenth career win for Biaggi at Brno – his third in Superbikes -, Biaggi's success also moves Aprilia well clear in the manufacturer standings.

Rea's second place completes an impressive return to form for both himself and Ten Kate Honda, a result that moves him up to third overall and reignites his hopes to fight for the runners-up spot.

Fabrizio completed the podium, but only after Xaus suffered a heart-breaking retirement just six laps from home. Xaus had dropped behind Fabrizio into fourth on lap six, but raised a few eyebrows by fighting back and going back through on lap ten.

Going on to pull away from Fabrizio, Xaus looked on course for his best result with BMW – and indeed the team's equal-best finish in WSBK – only for him to low-side off the track at turn one during the closing stages, much to the chagrin of team manager Davide Tardozzi.

Further back, James Toseland reeled off his most convincing performance since Monza to finish in fourth position. The Yamaha rider suffered a bad start from ninth on the grid to be 15th at the end of lap one, but scythed his way up the order to pass Noriyuki Haga with just over two laps to go.

Carlos Checa completed a quiet weekend in sixth, ahead of Sylvain Guintoli, the Frenchman unable to display the same kind of pace as race one, Leon Camier, Shane Byrne and Haslam, the Briton dropping down the order steadily to finish 34 seconds off Biaggi.

Haslam's plight is magnified by the fact just 13 riders finished on the same lap as the leader following another race of high attrition.

With Luca Scassa unable to start following his earlier crash, Chris Vermeulen pulled into the pit lane after just two laps having seemingly re-injured his knee in a race one fall. Tom Sykes and Max Neukirchner would also come down after a tangle on the opening lap.

Crutchlow, meanwhile, finished one lap down after pulling into the pit lane with rear tyre problems, the Yamaha rider nonetheless able to score two points in 14th.


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