Marco Melandri has taken his second World Superbike Championship win of the season after his relentless pressure on Max Biaggi
was rewarded with a defining mistake by his rival with four laps remaining.
Biaggi led for almost the entirety of the race after snatching the lead from pole sitter Melandri on the opening lap, but the Italian pair would proceed to lap in formation as they diced for the win.
However, the pressure finally told with four laps remaining when Biaggi out-braked himself into that very corner, allowing Melandri to slip up the inside and assume the lead.
Up to that point, the duo had embarked on an intriguing battle that developed over the course of the race, Melandri staying close to Biaggi but never showing anything more than the occasional wheel.
Indeed, though Melandri seemed faster through the sweeping bends, the scant overtaking opportunities ensured any pass would likely occur into the braking zone of the hairpin at the end of the back straight.
However, a weaker entry to the straight and the Aprilia's apparent top speed advantage negated Melandri's slipstream with each lap, preventing him from getting close enough to attempt a pass. Even so, Melandri maintained the pressure throughout, particularly as the Pirelli tyres began to wane in the high temperatures.
It was a tactic that worked as Biaggi, who handed Carlos Checa
victory last time out at Misano after making a mistake with only a handful of laps remaining, out-braked himself into the hairpin enough to allow Melandri to slip through.
It was the break he needed, Melandri unleashing his full pace quickly to break the tow to Biaggi and stretch away, the Yamaha rider crossing line a fairly comfortable 1.2secs up on his arch-rival.
A disgruntled Biaggi held on for his eighth second place finish of the season, though he can take some pleasure in having eaten a 20 point chunk out of Checa's advantage at the top of the WSBK standings following his rival's surprise DNF.