Max Biaggi has taken a double victory for Aprilia in the second round of the World Superbike Championship at Portimao to firmly establish himself as a title contender for this year's crown.
Bouncing back from an indifferent weekend in Australia, a bold pass on Leon Haslam on the penultimate lap proved the decisive moment for the Italian as he went on to resist the Suzuki rider to the chequered flag.
The results – his first double victory at World Superbike level – means Biaggi has moved up to second position in the standings, 16 points adrift of Haslam, who nonetheless held on for a fourth consecutive top two finish.
Just behind, Cal Crutchlow bounced back from the disappointment of the first race to claim a maiden WSBK podium for Yamaha, while Carlos Checa and Leon Camier mirrored their fourth and fifth place finishes from the opening encounter.
Having prevailed in a race-long battle with Haslam in the first race, Biaggi signalled his intentions by getting away from the start line quickest and delving into the opening turn with the lead, followed closely by Jonathan Rea, up from fifth on the grid, and Haslam.
Rea wasted no time in announcing his presence, pulling a fine pass on Biaggi for the lead at Craig Jones corner, only to be demoted to second again when the Aprilia's superior top speed eased Biaggi back past down the home straight.
Having held sway in third for the first few laps, Haslam launched his challenge on Rea on lap six, the Northern Irishman doing his utmost to stay side-by-side with the Suzuki through turn one, only to find himself forced wide when he couldn't hold the position.
Dropping to fourth, behind Crutchlow, Rea's race would last just two further laps when a technical problem forced him to park his Ten Kate Honda.
With Haslam now in second position, both he and Biaggi looked set to pick up where they left off in race one as the Briton attempted to keep his rival honest over the coming laps. The big difference here, however, would be the proximity of Crutchlow and Checa, who kept a watching brief in third and fourth.