Former Marlboro Yamaha team-mates Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi split victories in the celebrity Supermoto races, held yesterday at the Bologna Motorshow.

As well as Biaggi and Checa, those lining up to entertain the 50,000 strong crowd with their sliding skills included Ducati MotoGP riders Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi, 125cc GP star Andrea Dovizioso, SBK stars Robert Ulm and Ivan Clementi, plus AMA SBK rider Giovanni Bussei.

The three race event format involved two 'normal' races of 20 laps, and then an 'American' style final outing, which involved removing the last two riders at the end of each lap - so only the top two riders would reach the finish - thus encouraging plenty of frantic overtaking.

The first race saw Yamaha rider Checa turn heads by dominating from start to finish, but Bayliss was almost as impressive - the ever adaptable Aussie taking second ahead of Biaggi, despite almost zero prior practice on his VOR machine. Team-mate Capirossi would retire with technical problems.

Clementi took the early lead in race two, but again Checa would triumph after carving through the pack, with Bayliss eventually finishing second. Honda mounted Biaggi was fifth behind youngster Mattia Pasini and Dovizioso.

Onto the final 'American' race and Checa again led the way, while behind him main rivals Bayliss and Biaggi locked bars into turn one, sending Troy to the ground. With the final two riders behind excluded after each lap, the #12 had no time to waste in remounting and was soon working his way back up the order.

Meanwhile, Checa hopes of a perfect three wins out of three were hampered when he himself fell, but the Spaniard remounted... only to fall again! That second accident leaving him out of the race.

However, all attention was now on the Bayliss/Biaggi battle, with Troy having survived exclusion by fighting his way right up to second, behind race leader Max, by the last lap. With all other riders now excluded, the Roman would ultimately hold on to claim a popular 'home' victory.

Supermoto fan Biaggi will add the Bologna race win to his endurance victory in Rome on November 30, while Checa's two previous triumphs provided the Spaniard with good reason to smile after a disappointing 2003 GP season.



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