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Max Biaggi has extended his lead in the World Superbike Championship standings to 60 points after prevailing in an absorbing scrap with Marco Melandri at Motorland Aragon.
The all-Italian contest raged for much of the race as Biaggi and Melandri traded passing manoeuvres, the pair proving a class above as they stretched their advantage over the opposition, culminating in an entertaining exchange in the latter laps.
Coming into the race with a comfortable 38.5 point advantage over Jonathan Rea in the overall standings, Biaggi's title aspirations were given an instant boost when the Ulsterman was eliminated at the opening bend.
Getting a poor start from sixth on the grid, Rea was shuffled into the mid-pack as they rounded the turn, the Honda rider getting tangled with Jakub Smrz to hit the deck. While Smrz retired on the spot, Rea got going again, but was too far back to make a dent on the top 15 by the chequered flag.
Up at the front, pole man Tom Sykes led initially, but would be overtaken by Eugene Laverty at the start of lap two, though both were fairly powerless to halt Max Biaggi's push to the front by lap four.
Immediately gapping his rivals, Biaggi was almost two seconds ahead by the time Melandri had worked his way up to second position, but a series of excellent laps would see him reel Biaggi in by the halfway point in the race.
Shadowing one another through the turns and barely separated in a straight line, there was little to choose between the pair before Melandri took advantage of a slight error by Biaggi on lap twelve to hit the front for the first time.
Biaggi repaid the compliment on the next lap when he dived through at the hairpin, a move Melandri would replicate somewhat more forcefully at the same bend on lap 15.