Following 14 rounds of the fiercest competition, the 2012 World Superbike Champion earned his title by a mere half of a point.
This man was Aprilia Racing Team’s Max Biaggi, who won only five of 28 races in 2012 World SBK. But his strong podium finishes allowed him to take the title by half of a point from Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes, who won four races in 2012 World Superbike and took nine poles.
And it all came down to the final round Sunday at Magny-Cours, France. Biaggi entered the finale round 30.5 points ahead of Sykes, and 38.5 points ahead of the other man with a mathematical chance at taking the title – BMW Motorrad’s Marco Melandri.
But during a wet race one, Biaggi crashed out. Finishing second during race one was Melandri, with Sykes in third. Now things were tighter with one race remaining, Biaggi only having a 14.5-point lead over Sykes, and an 18.5 lead over Melandri.
In race 2, Sykes got off to a great start, and would eventually take the win. With Sykes up top, Biaggi needed a fifth or better to win the title. And although not the cleanest race, Biaggi was able to secure fifth, giving him just enough points to take the championship. As for Melandri, he crashed out.
Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team RSV4 Superbike) says: “This is the fourth world championship out of six that I’ve won in the last race. I guess I must like a difficult challenge! The 2012 season was tight to say the least: we started off well winning at Phillip Island after completely revamping my team, but we also had some difficult moments.
“We definitely worked for the title and maybe that’s why it’s an even sweeter victory. I’d like to thank the Team, Aprilia and Piaggio Group, from president Colaninno to the last worker because my success is just the tip of a great Italian company’s work. I would also like to thank my family, my girlfriend Eleonora and my two children, as well as the always present Marino Laghi.”