At Round 2 of the 2011 World Superbike Championship in Donington last month, Max Biaggi had a string of bad luck. The worse of it arrived from his disqualification of race 2 for jumping the start and failing to perform a drive-through penalty.
But as a true reigning World Superbike Champion, the Alitalia Aprilia RSV4 rider Biaggi quickly redeemed himself, taking second in both races at Assen Sunday.
The Italian’s performances moved him to second in the Superbike championship standings, 43 points behind the series’ leader Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) with 10 rounds remaining.
Biaggi, who began from sixth on the Assen World Superbike grid, showed impressive speeds aboard the RSV4 in both races, getting to the front quickly. In race 1, Biaggi was in second by the fourth lap after passing Checa.
Biaggi began to chase down the Race 1 winner, Jonathan Rea aboard the Castrol Honda CBR1000RR, but the Northern Irishman held of Biaggi by 0.7 of a second. Checa would finish third.
In Race 2 of Assen World Superbike, Biaggi took the early lead, followed by Checa and Rea. Checa took the lead from Biaggi on lap 2, but the Italian was able to pass the Spaniard again during mid-race. But on the final lap, Checa passed Biaggi and held him off by 0.5 of a second to take the fourth victory of the season. Rea would finish third.
Max Biaggi (Alitalia Aprilia RSV4 Superbike) says: "We reaped the maximum, especially considering what we went through on Saturday. Unfortunately we had to make a forced choice of tires with our RSV4. I would not have been able to use the softer tires that Checa chose.
"When I overtook him in Race 2, I pushed to the limit, but I just didn’t have the grip to hold onto first place. The advantage of the two cylinders in being able to use softer tires is important on a track like this one, besides the fact that I had a technical problem for the last 5 or 6 laps in Race 2. In any case I have to thank my Team.
"After the crash and at the end of Race 1 the work they did allowed me to use the first bike which I liked a lot better. I’m happy with second place. We still need to make up a lot of points, but we won’t let up. Monza could be an important race from this point of view."
Biaggi’s teammate, Leon Camier, didn’t have such good luck at Assen Superbike. He suffered a DNF in race 1 due to mechanical failure, but was able to take fourth in Race 2.
Leon Camier (Alitalia Aprilia RSV4 Superbike) says: "This is the classic weekend where anything that can go wrong does! Some problems with the tires, two breakdowns, the bike switching off and, above all, my two mistakes in Superpole ruined what could have been an important race.
"In any case I’m happy with the fourth place in Race 2 where I was also able to make the fast lap. I knew I had a good pace, I showed that in practice and warm-up. I’m leaving Assen convinced that I can do well if I keep improving and luck stays on my side!"
The World Superbike Championship continues in Monza, Italy, May 8, the first of three rounds in Biaggi’s home country (San Marino, Imola).