Results and summary of World Superbike race 2 at the Motorland Aragon circuit:
Max Biaggi has taken his first win of the year, after running such a high pace at the front that Marco Melandri, the only rider near him, was forced into a mistake. Biaggi's victory was his first while carrying the #1 plate, and cuts his deficit to Carlos Checa back to 43 points.
Biaggi got the holeshot off the line, with Marco Melandri slotting in behind him, and Kawasaki's Tom Sykes barging his way up into 3rd, with Biaggi's teammate Leon Camier taking 4th spot, though not for long, as Sykes' teammate Joan Lascorz was soon past the Aprilia. Carlos Checa, meanwhile, had got another scrappy start, ending up bundled down in the pack for 7th. The Althea Ducati rider faced a major task fighting his way forward if he was to match the pace of the leaders.
At the front, Biaggi had no intention of hanging about waiting for Checa, and with Marco Melandri in tow - the Yamaha man having seen off a brief attack from Sykes - the leaders started to pull a gap on the rest of the field. The pace of the pair was relentless, and within 5 laps, they had built up a lead of over 3 seconds and had put themselves out of reach. The race would turn into a repeat of race 1: Biaggi pushing hard from the front, Melandri following close behind, sometimes closing enough to show Biaggi a wheel, sometimes dropping back over half a second. Melandri had clearly decided to employ the same tactics that had worked in race 1: pressure Biaggi into making a mistake, then pick up the pieces when he did so.
But this time, Biaggi had him covered, and was running a fractionally faster pace in the second half of race 2. Pressuring Biaggi sufficiently meant pushing harder than Melandri had in race 1, and as they crossed the line to start lap 16, it was Melandri who made the mistake. Running close behind Biaggi, Melandri's front wheel tucked going into Turn 1, catching again just enough for Melandri to stay on the bike by running wide. The move lost Melandri nearly 6 seconds, and with just 5 laps to go, the race was basically settled. Biaggi crossed the line to take his first victory of the season, in the first race of the second half of the season, to the joy of his crew and to the huge relief of himself. Despite having lost so much ground to Biaggi, Melandri still had a comfortable lead over the rest of the field, and could cruise home to grab 2nd.
3rd place took a little longer to sort out, Carlos Checa forced to pick his way forward without crashing, afraid of losing more points to his rivals. It took him 5 laps to work his way past Michel Fabrizio, Leon Camier, Joan Lascorz and finally, Tom Sykes, and by the time he had his hands on 3rd, Biaggi and Melandri had already checked out. Having regained some of the composure he had lost in race 1, Checa put his head down and settled for 3rd, content merely to minimize the damage given his costly earlier mistake, the only minor scare being Michel Fabrizio closing briefly on him in the first half of the race.
But Fabrizio could never catch Checa, though he kept the Althea Ducati rider in sight. The Alstare Suzuki rider came home in 4th, with a comfortable lead over an outstanding Joan Lascorz, the Kawasaki man scoring his best result of the season, though aided by his teammate Tom Sykes crashing out in the early part of the race. Eugene Laverty won an epic scrap for 6th from Noriyuki Haga, whole Leon Camier traipsed home in 8th.
Biaggi's win in race two and Checa's crash in race one put a different complexion on the championship all of a sudden. Biaggi has cut Checa's lead from 72 to just 43 points in the championship, with 12 races left this season, and Brno and Silverstone - two fast, horsepower tracks - coming up next. Most of all, however, finally getting a win will relieve a lot of the pressure that had been building on the reigning World Champion, and should allow him to race a little more freely.
|1||1||M. BIAGGI||ITA||Aprilia RSV4 Factory|
|2||33||M. MELANDRI||ITA||Yamaha YZF R1||4.809|
|3||7||C. CHECA||ESP||Ducati 1098R||6.944|
|4||84||M. FABRIZIO||ITA||Suzuki GSX-R1000||9.001|
|5||17||J. LASCORZ||ESP||Kawasaki ZX-10R||11.562|
|6||58||E. LAVERTY||IRL||Yamaha YZF R1||14.288|
|7||41||N. HAGA||JPN||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||15.138|
|8||2||L. CAMIER||GBR||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||17.660|
|9||91||L. HASLAM||GBR||BMW S1000 RR||24.184|
|10||86||A. BADOVINI||ITA||BMW S1000 RR||24.676|
|11||50||S. GUINTOLI||FRA||Ducati 1098R||29.300|
|12||8||M. AITCHISON||AUS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||33.163|
|13||44||R. ROLFO||ITA||Kawasaki ZX-10R||38.080|
|14||77||C. VERMEULEN||AUS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||49.042|
|15||57||L. LANZI||ITA||BMW S1000 RR||53.156|
|RET||111||R. XAUS||ESP||Honda CBR1000RR||10 Laps|
|RET||66||T. SYKES||GBR||Kawasaki ZX-10R||14 Laps|
|RET||96||J. SMRZ||CZE||Ducati 1098R||16 Laps|
|RET||121||M. BERGER||FRA||Ducati 1098R|
|RET||11||T. CORSER||AUS||BMW S1000 RR|