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Aprilia veteran Max Biaggi pulled off a home double at Misano in Round 7 of the World Superbike series at the weekend, pushing his career win total to 19. They were Biaggi's second and third wins of the year, but his first since the opening race in Australia, way back in February.
The day was a disaster for three out of four South African riders as Capetonian David McFadden (Kawasaki) crashed out of 11th on lap two of his debut Superstock 1000 race, having qualified 12th.
First Mathew Scholtz and then Ronan Quarmby (each on a Honda) crashed out of the World Supersport race, leaving Kawasaki rider Sheridan Morais to salvage some pride for the Rainbow Nation with a fine sixth place.
Biaggi started off the third row in each Superbike race but made up places quickly and held off intense pressure from Carlos Checa (Ducati) in Race 1, than took an emphatic in Race 2 from Jonathan Rea (Honda) and Leon Haslam (BMW).
Biaggi has been the most consistent of the top riders in 2012 so far, but has now proved that when his bike is right he can also compete for race wins again.
Biaggi rode from the third row to the win, after a superb performance in front of his home crowd. With many passes and changes throughout the race he had to ride hard at the end to defend from another lowly starter, Checa, who finished second, after starting 16th.
Davide Giugliano took a hard-fought third with Sykes fourth after riding up front at the start, then dropping to seventh, and than mounting a late charge to pass long time race leader Jonathan Rea.
Max Biaggi: “This weekend didn't start in the best way for us, with a second-row position after Superpole. There are not many places to overtake here at Misano but in the end I found a way, somebody made some mistakes, and little by little we tried to climb the mountain to get to the top.”
Carlos Checa: “It was an amazing result considering the position we started in. Today we fixed yesterday's mistake, finally fighting for the win which was unthinkable because of the difficulties in this track to overtake.
Second and third is great for the team, it was tough and in the end Max was stronger.”
Davide Giugliano: “This is a track I like a lot and where the Ducati has always gone well. The race was splendid, I demanded a lot from the bike and the tyres for half the race, then after the mid-point I began to suffer. I knew that Carlos and Max were arriving, then when I saw the black 'shadow' of Biaggi let's say it wasn't much fun because I used to watch him all the time on TV when I was a kid!”
Biaggi pulled clear after some early argy-bargy to win by 5.355 seconds, easing down in the final lap. Rea and Haslam had a long fight for second with Rea in fornt when in mattered, while BMW riders Marco Melandri and Ayrton Badovini put up another superb dice for fourth, which went the way of Melandri.
Race 1 stars Checa and Giugliano both crashed out of Race 2.
Max Biaggi: “It was an unbelievable weekend, it was such a long time since my first win in Australia in February. This race was very difficult, much sliding of the tyres, chattering and it's a difficult place to race at the top level.
Jonathan Rea: “Really happy, my bike worked pretty good. I felt like I was riding well and enjoying myself as well. I had stronger pace than Sykes at the beginning and once I got past I could maintain the pace to Max who was on race management.
“Now we go on to Aragon where I haven't ridden yet so I'm quite motivated for that.”
Leon Haslam: “After Race 1 when we had tyre issues from half distance on the crew worked really hard to change the set-up. We made a different tyre choice and the rear was much better. I struggled with the front and that made it difficult to get past Johnny, but it was another good battle and fair play to those guys.”
RESULTS - RACE 1
1 Max Biaggi (Italy) Aprilia RSV4 Factory - 38min58.471
2 Carlos Checa (Spain) Ducati 1098R +0.306sec
3 Davide Giugliano (Italy) Ducati 1098R +4.503
4 Tom Sykes (Britain) Kawasaki ZX-10R +8.858
5 Jonathan Rea (Britain) Honda CBR1000RR +11.627
6 Chaz Davies (Britain) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +12.258
7 Eugene Laverty (Ireland) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +12.551
8 Sylvain Guintoli (France) Ducati 1098R +13.561
9 Jakub Smrz (Czech Republic) Ducati 1098R +17.014
10 Leon Camier (Britain) Suzuki GSX-R1000 +18.361
11 Ayrton Badovini (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +20.029
12 Leon Haslam (Britain) BMW S1000 RR +22.082
13 Maxime Berger (France) Ducati 1098R +22.966
14 Michel Fabrizio (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +27.014
15 Matteo Baiocco (Italy) Ducati 1098R +31.133
16 Horoshi Aoyama (Japan) Honda CBR1000RR +31.719
17 John Hopkins (US) Suzuki GSX-R1000 +31.902
18 Nicolo Canepa (Italy) Ducati 1098R +43.770
19 Leandro Mercado (Argentina) Kawasaki ZX-10R +55.071
20 Federico Sandi (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +6 laps
RESULTS - RACE 2
1 Max Biaggi (Italy) Aprilia RSV4 Factory - 39min01.869
2 Jonathan Rea (Britain) Honda CBR1000RR +5.355sec
3 Leon Haslam (Britain) BMW S1000 RR +5.731
4 Marco Melandri (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +7.004
5 Ayrton Badovini (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +7.921
6 Michel Fabrizio (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +17.291
8 Loris Baz (France) Kawasaki ZX-10R +17.630
9 Jakub Smrz (Czech Republic) Ducati 1098R +18.211 10 Matteo Baiocco (Italy) Ducati 1098R +28.131
11 Maxime Berger (France) Ducati 1098R +28.407
12 Horoshi Aoyama (Japan) Honda CBR1000RR +38.060
13 Nicolo Canepa (Italy) Ducati 1098R +49.003
14 John Hopkins (US) Suzuki GSX-R1000 +51.881
15 Leon Camier (Britain) Suzuki GSX-R1000 +55.502
16 Federico Sandi (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +6 laps
17 Leandro Mercado (Argentina) Kawasaki ZX-10R +1min06.361
POINTS (after seven of 14 rounds)
1 Max Biaggi (Italy) Aprilia RSV4 Factory - 210.5
2 Jonathan Rea (Britain) Honda CBR1000RR - 172
3 Tom Sykes (Britain) Kawasaki ZX-10R - 164.5
4 Marco Melandri (Italy) BMW S1000 RR - 155.5
5 Carlos Checa (Spain) Ducati 1098R - 150.5
6 Leon Haslam (Britain) BMW S1000 RR - 123
7 Sylvain Guintoli (France) Ducati 1098R - 103
8 Eugene Laverty (Ireland) Aprilia RSV4 Factory - 95
9 Davide Giugliano (Italy) Ducati 1098R - 80
9 Jakub Smrz (Czech Republic) Ducati 1098R - 75.5
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) and Jules Cluzel (Honda) fought it out all the way the 22-lap race but the Turkish rider had the upper hand at the end and Cluzel had to settle for second, 1.228 seconds behind.
Sofuoglu's win makes him the only rider in this class to have won more than a single race in 2012.
Alex Baldolini (Triumph) was an impressive third, with Roberto Tamburini (Honda) close behind.
Pole man Sam Lowes (Honda) struggled for early pace and crashed, then restarted to finish 18th, with no points.
1 Kenan Sofouglu (Turkey) Kawasaki ZX-6R - 36min44.023
2 Jules Cluzel (France) Honda CBR600RR +1.228
3 Alex Baldolini (Italy) Triumph Daytona 675 +20.597
4 Roberto Tamburini (Italy) Honda CBR600RR +21.800
5 Broc Parkes (Australia) Honda CBR600RR +26.357
6 Sheridan Morais (South Africa) Kawasaki ZX-6R +26.936
7 Jed Metcher (Australia) Yamaha R6 +33.183
8 Fabien Foret (France) Kawasaki ZX-6R +34.587
9 Vittorio Iannuzzo (Italy) Yamaha R6 +36.853
10 Andrea Antonelli (Italy) Yamaha R6 +38.213
POINTS (after 6 of 13 rounds)
1 Kenan Sofouglu (Turkey) Kawasaki ZX-6R - 106
2 Jules Cluzel (France) Honda CBR600RR - 84
3 Sam Lowes (Britain) Honda CBR600RR - 76
4 Fabien Foret (France) Kawasaki ZX-6R - 63
5 Alex Baldolini (Italy) Triumph Daytona 675 - 54
6 Broc Parkes (Australia) Honda CBR600RR - 53
7 Roberto Tamburini (Italy) Honda CBR600RR - 38
8 Sheridan Morais (South Africa) Kawasaki ZX-6R - 37
9 Ronan Quarmby (South Africa) Honda CBR600RR - 34
10 Vittorio Iannuzzo (Italy) Yamaha R6 -32
SUPERSTOCK 1000 The Superstock 1000 race was red-flagged on lap four when Markus Reiterberger crashed his BMW on Turn 3 and spilled a lot of oil.
The restart was run over six laps; Eddi La Marra took the holeshot on a Ducati Panigale, but within half race distance he had been passed by Sylvain Barrier and then Michele Magnoni, each on a BMW.
Barrier's team mate Lorenzo Baroni finished second after catching the leading pack on the final lap then passing two riders with ease, with Magnoni third and La Marra fourth. The top four were covered by 0.571 seconds.