Vallelunga: Haga holds Biaggi for victory.

As such, it was left to Haga and Biaggi to dispute victory, but while the Japanese rider looked typically leery at times, Biaggi's best efforts could only ever see him get slightly alongside.

Building up to a grandstand finish, Biaggi – cheered on by the raucous home crowd – tried everything he could to force a mistake from Haga, but to no avail.

Biaggi's hopes would eventually be dashed by the re-emergence of Corser into the equation with just a handful of laps remaining, the Aussie doing a superb job to catch up again after losing a couple of seconds with his error. Latching onto Biaggi, the Italian was distracted enough to allow Haga to edge the win by a meagre margin, followed closely by Biaggi and Corser.

Further back, fourth place eventually fell to Max Neukirchner, who had been enjoying a quiet race up until the final stages when Bayliss, up to fourth after overtaking Checa, made a mistake and slowed up both himself and the Honda behind him. Neukirchner duly took advantage to leap up from sixth to fourth, while Checa managed to capitalise by claiming back fifth.

Bayliss' sixth means his lead over Corser is down to 95 points, making it more likely that the title will be decided in France. Still, victory in the second race would almost do it for Bayliss, provided he can come back strong.

Michel Fabrizio was a very lonely seventh, although the Italian was almost caught by a flying Roberto Rolfo, the Althea Racing rider scoring both his and the team's best result of the season after climbing up from 16th in the early stages of the race to claim eighth.

Yukio Kagayama started strongly but eventually faded to ninth, just ahead of countryman Shinichi Nakatomi who, like Rolfo, was on fine form as he fought up from 19th on the grid to claim a top ten finish.

Lorenzo Lanzi ran inside the top ten for the majority of the race before dropping to 11th, ahead of Fonsi Nieto, who struggled throughout, while Jakub Smz, Gregorio Lavilla and Ayrton Badovini completed the points paying positions.

Meanwhile, beyond Kiyonari, other notable retirements included Ruben Xaus, with an apparent mechanical woe, as well as Kenan Sofuoglu and Karl Muggeridge, the duo coming together in the early stages of the race.

Related Pictures

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