Max Biaggi has won the 2010 World Superbike Championship with one round remaining after a mid-race retirement for Leon Haslam made his title win a foregone conclusion.
The Aprilia Alitalia rider was already on course to take the crown after pushing ahead of Haslam, who had dropped to sixth with a mistake on lap seven, but a spectacular engine failure and subsequent retirement for the Suzuki rider means he can no longer be considered for the title.
Biaggi himself cruised to a fifth place finish once he knew that Haslam was out of contention, the 39-year-old choosing to back off and revel in winning his first title in 17 years.
Significantly, Biaggi's win signals the first WSBK title triumph for an Italian rider, while the Italian team and Italian title sponsor makes the title win on home soil especially poignant.
The race itself was won by Carlos Checa, who made it a double victory, the Spaniard finishing comfortably ahead of Noriyuki Haga, while Cal Crutchlow made it onto the podium after a strong charge through the field.
Under some pressure after failing to finish inside the top ten for the first time this season during race one, Biaggi put himself in a much better position at the start of race two as he leapt into third position behind Tom Sykes – once again getting a good start from pole – and Haslam.
While Biaggi kept Haslam honest initially, he slipped to fourth on lap four when he was overtaken by race one winner Checa, though with the Spaniard also passing Haslam on lap five, the pair continued to circulate together. Crucially, had they finished third and fourth, Haslam would have just been able to keep his title dreams alive by just a single point.
Checa went on to pass Sykes for the lead at the end of lap five, the Kawasaki man proceeding to put up a stern defence of those circulating behind him, the Briton's method of braking late and hard causing headaches for Haslam.
As such, when Haslam did make his move for second on lap seven at the chicane, he mis-judged his braking and went straight on, losing him positions to Biaggi, Haga and Michel Fabrizio consequently. It meant Biaggi was now well in position to win the title so long as he remained ahead of Haslam to the chequered flag.