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Marco Melandri and BMW have moved into the lead of the World Superbike Championship standings for the first time after storming to victory in the second race at the Moscow Raceway, while erstwhile leader Max Biaggi crashed out in dramatic circumstances.
Having finished second and third in race one, the two championship rivals came into the second Russian race split by just 6.5 points in favour of the Aprilia rider, but a better start by Melandri would give him the upper hand during the early stages as they ran fourth and eighth.
Up at the front, race winner Tom Sykes got the jump at the start once again, forging his way into an early lead initially ahead of Eugene Laverty, Leon Haslam and Melandri, though the latter rider quickly made his move to pass both Haslam and Laverty for second into the braking area of the tight final corner.
Undeterred, Laverty fought back straight away on lap six, lifting Melandri up and allowing Haslam to also overtake. With Biaggi having also progressed to fifth, the two rivals found themselves line astern in fourth and fifth for a time, but Melandri would simply repeat his moves on the two riders ahead of him to snatch back second by lap eight.
By contrast, just as Melandri was passing Laverty for second into the final corner, Biaggi had misjudged his braking and would drop behind Jonathan Rea and Carlos Checa into seventh, a mistake that provisionally put Melandri at the head of the standings.
However, worse was to follow for Biaggi on lap ten when his attempt at passing Jonathan Rea on the long straight would see him get too close to the Honda as they entered the braking zone.
Making light contact as they went side-by-side and forcing him to ease off the brakes momentarily, Biaggi couldn't get the bike stopped in time and would slam into the back of Leon Haslam's BMW ahead, sending both barrelling out of the race.
Desperate disappointment for the entirely innocent Haslam, though the Briton was seen walking away from the accident, he has been admitted to the medical centre for checks.