Biaggi regains championship lead
Max Biaggi reclaimed top spot in the Superbike World Championship standings after winning the opening race at the Nurburgring on Sunday, while Chaz Davies claimed his maiden World Superbike victory in an eventful race two.
RACE ONE REPORT
The stakes could not be higher as Biaggi led off the line and into the first corner. However, the late-braking Tom Sykes easily took it off him while Carlos Checa and Eugene Laverty dived ahead of Marco Melandri. Michel Fabrizio recorded the first DNF of the race he crashed out in a violent high-side.
Sykes attempted to etch out a lead as those behind fought for every inch of track with Melandri making his way up third behind his two title rivals. Checa was the next down when on lap two he lost the front end of his bike in a dip into the right-hander. He did manage to rejoin although well down the order. Moments later Jonathan Rea also went down, sliding his Honda into the gravel.
Davide Giugliano joined the list of crashes as he too found the Nurburgring to be lacking in grip. He was sixth when he crashed, involved in a battle with Laverty, Chaz Davis, Leon Haslam and Loris Baz, the latter two losing time as they avoided Giugliano's sliding Ducati.
As the race heated up so too did the Championship as the three contenders - Sykes, Biaggi and Melandri - were in a battle of their own, pulling away from the chasing pack. Five laps into the race, Sykes was over three seconds down the road on fourth-placed Davies, who had just made his move on Laverty. The Welshman, though, had a massive moment which allowed Laverty back up.
The race for the lead became a two-rider event when, with 15 laps to go, Melandri lost the front end of his bike and slid into retirement. He had been holding an 18.5point lead over Biaggi at the start of the race.
With Melandri out of contention, Biaggi set about reeling in Sykes and quickly worked his way onto the Kawasaki rider's rear wheel while Laverty and Davies' battle became one for the final podium position.
Lap after lap Biaggi lined up Sykes into the first corner, looking up the inside. The 41-year-old, though, appeared to be bidding his time as he watched his Yorkshire rival's tyres begin to give in. That was when Biaggi made his move, taking the lead after powering down the main straight and into the first corner.
He begun to build up an advantage, over a second after just two laps, while Laverty and Davies started to close in on the Kawasaki rider. Behind them Baz, Haslam and Sylvain Guintoli, who started P18, were in their own battle for fifth place.
With seven to go Laverty easily overtook Sykes for second while Davies also made short work of him. The duo, though, were too far behind Biaggi to have any impact on the fight for the victory, although they definitely played a role in the battle for the title.
Biaggi crossed the line three seconds ahead of Laverty while Davies just didn't have that little extra to take the factory Aprilia rider. Sykes had to settle for fourth ahead of Leon Camier, Guintoli, Haslam and Lorenzo Zanetti.
Biaggi's victory puts him back at the front of the Championship race as he now leads Melandri by 6.5 points. Sykes is a further 28 points adrift.
RACE TWO REPORT
Having seen Biaggi reclaim the Championship lead after winning the opening race on Sunday Melandri headed into the race a slender 6.5 points behind the Aprilia rider, knowing he couldn't afford to lose further ground to his compatriot.
While Biaggi was on pole, it was Laverty who held the lead at the first corner ahead of Tom Sykes and Biaggi.
There was little drama off the line with all the racers coming away cleanly, but the race was soon thrown wide open when Biaggi spun into the gravel at the NGK Chicane at the end of the back straight during the very first lap. Crucially, the Italian was able to get back on his bike and carry on but from last position.
Laverty had run off course and across the gravel trap ahead of Biaggi, losing time, and after the crash the field opened up 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 shadowed Sykes for several laps before passing him at the start of lap eight into turn one, with Davies overtaking Sykes to move into second position a lap later. At this point Melandri must have thought that the gods where smiling on him, but the drama was not over yet as a simple rider error at the entry to turn 11 saw the Italian spin into the gravel and out of the race.
Suddenly every place that Biaggi made up was valuable points in the Championship.
Davies, chasing his first World Superbike title, took advantage of the chaos to surge to the front. With Sykes unable to pose a challenge he soon began to pull away, leading by more than a second for much of the second half of the race.
The Welshman, who had never ridden a Superbike before this year, would not be denied and secured a timely win on a weekend when rumours that he will be joining BMW in 2013 abounded. His victory will also provide a boon to the new ParkinGO MTC Aprilia team, following their decision to step up from the World Supersport series.
Behind Davies, Laverty, Camier and Jonathan Rea tussled for position. It was Camier, who had gone from last to fifth in the first race, who managed to cut through the pack first, passing Sykes to move into second. Camier could not deny a late challenge from Laverty, but did at least secure Suzuki's first podium of the year.
Sykes, who led both races at different points today, held on to finish in fifth place. After finishing fourth in the first race, the Kawasaki rider has at least managed to close the gap on the front runners somewhat. He is now 26.5 points behind Biaggi and 17 points from Melandri.
Further back, Biaggi overcame his crash and a damaged bike to fight his way back into the points, finishing in 13th place. Importantly, the three points he secured increased his lead over Melandri to 9.5 points, with four races remaining.
RACE ONE RESULTS
1. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 38'52.751
2. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 38'55.778
3. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 38'55.878
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 39'05.057
5. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 39'06.882
6. Sylvain Guintoli (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 39'12.274
7. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 39'19.768
8. Lorenzo Zanetti (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 39'25.867
9. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 39'27.688
10. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 39'31.883
11. Maxime Berger (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 39'33.751
12. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 39'33.876
13. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 39'39.676
14. Lorenzo Lanzi (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) Ducati 1098R 39'47.410
15. Brett McCormick (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 39'49.093
16. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 40'02.481
17. Norino Brignola (Grillini Progea Superbike Team) BMW S1000 RR 40'36.430
RT. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 33'14.140
RT. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 9'40.675
RT. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 5'52.293
RT. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 3'55.107
RT. Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR
RACE TWO RESULTS
1. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 39'00.327
2. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 39'03.349
3. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 39'03.549
4. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 39'06.032
5. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 39'07.631
6. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 39'07.868
7. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 39'15.036
8. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 39'20.109
9. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 39'20.252
10. Sylvain Guintoli (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 39'20.355
11. Lorenzo Zanetti (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 39'25.980
12. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 39'29.469
13. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 39'29.906
14. Maxime Berger (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 39'36.417
15. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 39'41.239
16. Lorenzo Lanzi (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) Ducati 1098R 39'50.728
17. Norino Brignola (Grillini Progea Superbike Team) BMW S1000 RR 39'24.912
RT. Brett McCormick (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 30'18.544
RT. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 17'36.790
RT. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 15'34.320
RT. Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 15'57.025
RT. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 12'11.662