A remarkable day of unpredictable motorcycle racing on track finally delivered two 21-lap race victories to Max Biaggi and his Aprilia Alitalia team in the World Superbike (WSBK) event at Miller Motorsports Park.
Max now has a 15 point lead over Leon Haslam (Alstare Suzuki) but he may not have won a single race today had Althea Ducati privateer Carlos Checa not had his machine quit twice on him while leading.
Checa had to content himself with two Pirelli awards for the fastest lap of each race and a new lap record of 1’48.045, set on lap four of race one. Biaggi made his third double win of the year, after similar feats at Portimao and Monza.
A two-rider fight for supremacy in race one suddenly became a clear victory for Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) as long time race leader Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) was forced to stop with a technical problem on lap 19 of the 21 laps.
Almost five seconds behind Biaggi, championship leader Leon Haslam was second for Alstare Suzuki, and the final podium place was secured by the rejuvenated Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox).
Leon Camier was in a podium position on his Aprilia Alitalia vee-four for most of the race, but could not keep Haslam and Haga behind on the final laps.
Troy Corser was fifth for BMW Motorrad Motorsport, Shane Byrne a brilliant sixth on his Althea Ducati, having fought back from a very lowly position at the start. Luca Scassa, Sylvain Guintoli, James Toseland and Ruben Xaus rounded out the top ten finishers.
Max Biaggi: "Very lucky. I think Checa deserved that race because he rode very hard. Honestly speaking he deserved it but racing is racing and sometimes these things happen. This time it was our turn. We had a very good pace and I am happy for me, my team and Aprilia."
Leon Haslam: "I didn’t get the best of starts I think I was about tenth away, and I got stuck behind Jakub Smrz when his engine blew and I was covered in quite a lot of oil, so I didn’t want to follow too close. I got a gift of second with Carlos breaking down, but we will take it."
Noriyuki Haga: "I have not had a good result at this track in the two previous years so I am happy to take third place. From the first lap my tyre feeling was not so good and I adjusted my riding style and I was happy to be able to finish third."
World SBK Race 1 Results: 1. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 38’20.442 (161,260 km/h) (B/A); 2. Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 4.931 (B/A); 3. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1198 6.432 (A/A); 4. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 8.576 (B/A); 5. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 11.150 (A/A); 6. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1198 11.243 (A/A); 7. Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1198 12.432 (C/A); 8. Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 15.145 (A/A); 9. Toseland J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 16.091 (A/A); 10. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 16.502 (A/A); 11. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 18.719 (B/A); 12. Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR1000RR 24.285 (C/A); 13. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 36.479 (C/A); 14. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 39.700 (A/A); 15. Vermeulen C. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 41.253 (B/A); 16. Hayden R. (USA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 41.661 (B/A); 17. Parkes B. (AUS) Honda CBR1000RR 1’00.427 (A/A); 18. Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R a 4 giri (B/A)
With his main championship rival Leon Haslam crashing out of race two, Max Biaggi’s second win of the day for Aprilia put him 15 points in the lead. Carlos Checa once more stopped on the track while leading.
Leon Camier had a career best of second on his Aprilia Alitalia machine and Cal Crutchlow took his Yamaha Sterilgarda bike to third place.
This was the first time that two Aprilias have finished on the podium in a 1-2. In the championship Biaggi now has 257 points, Haslam 242 and Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) 151.
Behind the podium battle Haga was fourth, Corser fifth and Guintoli sixth. Shane Byrne went seventh and Jonathan Rea eighth.
Checa leaves America on an unchanged 141 points, in fourth place, with Haga now only six points behind him.
Max Biaggi: "We made a double win, and that was my dream. Before we came here, I was hoping and dreaming to make a double win. It is just what I need. I was also a little bit lucky because Checa had some trouble, but anyway this is 50 points, very helpful to me and my team. I’m happy for my team-mate too. This machine is only one and a half years old, and we developed the bike very, very strong. The engineers made a good job. I’m very happy for my Aprilia friends. The people understand this bike is a winning machine."
Leon Camier: "The start of the weekend didn’t go according to plan, really. I had a couple of crashes, and I sort of managed to turn it around for the second one. The first race we had a bit of a bad front tyre choice and maybe a bit of a setting thing. Yeah, the second one’s gone awesome, so massive thank you to Aprilia. They’ve done an awesome job as you can see. I think it’s Aprilia’s first 1-2 in Superbike. Max just had a bit more pace than me."
Cal Crutchlow: "I think we deserved that. In the first race we were unfortunate. We got caught up in somebody else’s crash and just ran off the track. I think we came back strongly the second race, and all credit to Max and Leon, they rode a superb race. I think we’ve turned it around. Yamaha has done a good job this weekend. It was a very similar race to what Ben ran here last year, and he won by nine seconds – so it shows how fast these guys are going."
World SBK Race 2 Results : 1. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 38’17.842 (161,442 km/h); 2. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 5.899; 3. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 7.363; 4. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1198 8.842; 5. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 9.473; 6. Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 12.293; 7. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1998 12.483; 8. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR 1000 RR 15.959; 9. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1198 18.897; 10. Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1198 20.372; 11. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 26.823; 12. Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR 1000 RR 30.344; 13. Vermeulen C. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10 R 33.377; 14. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 38.772; 15. Parkes B. (AUS) Honda CBR 1000 RR
Pirelli Race Tyre Selection (Front/Rear): All riders on same solutions with the exception of Biaggi, Camier, Crutchlow, Xaus and Vermuelen who chose the "A" front for Race 2.
WSBK Championship standings (after 7 Rounds of 13): 1. Biaggi 257; 2. Haslam 242; 3. Rea 151; 4. Checa 141; 5. Haga 135;6. Toseland 132; 7. Corser 127; 8. Camier 115; 9. Crutchlow 107; 10. Fabrizio 102. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 263; 2. Suzuki 252; 3. Ducati 214; 4. Honda 162; 5. Yamaha 158; 6. BMW 130; 7. Kawasaki 45
Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) extended his championship lead to six points at Miller by recording his first race win since Portimao. He also took a new lap record of 1’51.702, on lap six.
Kenan has now won 16 career races in this class, extending his record number of wins again.
Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) was second today, just over a second behind Sofuoglu, with Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Motocard.com) third, 1.673 seconds from the win.
Chaz Davies (ParkinGo Triumph Be-1) won a tight battle for fourth, with Sofuoglu’s team-mate Michele Pirro fifth. In the championship, Sofuoglu has 142 points, Laverty 136, Lascorz 128 and Davies 84.
World Supersport Results: 1. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 1’51.879 (157,002 km/h); 2. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’52.097; 3. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1’52.144; 4. Pirro M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’52.458; 5. Salom D. (ESP) Triumph Daytona 675 1’52.618; 6. Davies C. (GBR) Triumph Daytona 675 1’52.682; 7. Foret F. (FRA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’52.870; 8. Fujiwara K. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’52.939; 9. Harms R. (DEN) Honda CBR600RR 1’53.241; 10. Rea G. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1’53.404; 11. Lagrive M. (FRA) Triumph Daytona 675 1’53.622; 12. DiSalvo J. (USA) Triumph Daytona 675 1’53.837; 13. Praia M. (POR) Honda CBR600RR 1’53.932; 14. Roccoli M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’54.425; 15. Odom T. (USA) Honda CBR600RR 1’54.704; 16. Lundh A. (SWE) Honda CBR600RR 1’55.096; 17. Chesaux B. (SUI) Honda CBR600RR 1’55.398; 18. Farrell J. (USA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’57.248; 19. Paris M. (USA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’59.202
Championship standings (after 7 Rounds of 13): 1. Sofuoglu 142; 2. Laverty 136; 3. Lascorz 128; 4. Davies 84; 5. Pirro 58; 6.Salom 58; 7. Rea 54; 8. Harms 51; 9. Fujiwara 48; 10. Lagrive 44. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 170; 2. Kawasaki 128; 3. Triumph 94