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Chaz Davies has taken a stunning maiden World Superbike Championship victory after keeping it clean in a dramatic second race at the Nurburgring that would see both Max Biaggi and Marco Melandri crash.
With Biaggi back in the lead of the standings following Melandri's DNF in the first race of the day, the stage was set for a renewed battle in race two, the pair now split by a slender 6.5 points in favour of the Aprilia rider.
However, the race would turn out to be a chaotic one for both title protagonists, starting from the very first lap when Biaggi came crashing down at the NGK Chicane at the end of the back straight.
Having slotted into third place initially behind fast-starting team-mate Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes, Biaggi was seemingly caught unawares under braking for the corner when Laverty, having just been overtaken by Sykes, ran off course and across the gravel trap just ahead. Tucking the front end on the bumps, Biaggi skated into the gravel trap, but determinedly kept the machine running to remount, albeit some distance behind the field.
His misfortune, coupled to Laverty losing time, served to break up the field, with Sykes taking the lead, ahead of Melandri and Davies, while Jonathan Rea, Davide Giugliano, Loris Baz and the recovering Laverty made up the chasing pack at the end of the opening lap.
Melandri proceeded to follow Sykes for several laps before making his move at the start of lap eight into turn one. It was a move that was replicated by Davies a lap later as the two began to stretch away from Sykes almost immediately.
However, just as it looked like the pendulum of momentum was swinging back in the favour of Melandri, the BMW rider sensationally hit the deck on the entry to turn 11. A remarkable twist in what has been a dramatic day for the title rivals, Melandri would not get going again as he was left to rue scuppering a golden opportunity to regain the initiative.
With Melandri out of the race and Biaggi still battling outside the points, it was Davies who subsequently capitalised on the chaos around him to nose in front of a WSBK lead for the first time.