News 12 Jul 2010

WSBK: Biaggi extends lead after race two victory at Brno

Italian Max Biaggi continued his winning streak at Brno on Sunday.

Italian Max Biaggi continued his winning streak at Brno on Sunday.

Max Biaggi (Aprilia) is now a massive 68pt leader in this year’s Superbike World Championship after another powerful performance at a sweltering Brno overnight.

Although he had to share top billing with Honda’s Jonathan Rea in the Czech Republic – they each had a win and second place – Biaggi’s main championship rival Leon Haslam (Suzuki) laboured to eighth and 10th places, allowing the Italian veteran to strengthen his championship lead with only four rounds remaining.

Biaggi and Haslam are now on 352 and 284pts respectively, while Rea (203) moved back into third at Brno at the expense of Ducati’s Carlos Checa (189).

Australia’s Troy Corser (BMW) has slipped back to seventh in the standings after a big crash in the first qualifying session at Brno saw him sit out the rest of the meeting with heavy bruising. He will now concentrate on being fit in the next round at Silverstone (UK) in three weeks time.

An unpleasant start to proceedings for the Australian connection soured even more in race one when Chris Vermeulen (Kawasaki) got caught up in a melee at turn one and battered his already damaged right knee. He then tried to return in race two but he realised it was a futile exercise after just two laps.

“We’ve had a real struggle here in Brno this weekend. We made up a little bit of pace during practices but like everyone else here we had problems with edge grip,” said Vermeulen.

“Having to start on fifth row makes life difficult and I got caught up in a rider tangle on turn one and was whipped out of the race. I was optimistic about starting race two but I just could not continue after two laps due to the pain in my damaged right knee.”

Vermeulen knows that his injury woes have now come to a flashpoint.

“I am obviously extremely disappointed and frustrated with my knee injury, which is holding me back. I will have to discuss with both my team and my doctor this week on how best to move forward.”

In front of 64,000 fans, Rea returned to the winning groove for the third time this year with a virtual flag-to-flag victory in race one, well clear of Biaggi and Yamaha pole man Cal Crutchlow.

Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki), Ruben Xaus (BMW), Noriyuki Haga (Ducati), James Toseland (Yamaha) and Haslam saw out the top eight, with positions remaining constant in the last half of the battle except for Biaggi slipping past a fading Crutchlow on lap 17.

“In race one I honestly felt that someone up there was watching out for me because it was like I couldn’t do anything wrong!” said Rea. “It was a weird start to that race, because as I sat on the grid the only thing I could think about was how badly I needed to go to the toilet!

“As soon as the race started I went to the front instead and just kept it smooth for the remaining 19 laps. It felt so nice to win a race again – I’d kind of forgotten what that felt like.”

In race two and with the track temperature up by almost 10 degrees, Biaggi was in a league of his own as he completed a 4.627sec rout over Rea, with Michel Fabrizio (Ducati), Toseland and Haga completing the top five.

Biaggi’s winning time, at an average speed of 161.268km/h, was nearly four seconds faster than Rea’s race one benchmark.

Meanwhile, Xaus crashed out of third spot on lap 15, while Crutchlow was never in the hunt after being forced into the pits for a rear tyre change.

“Knowing the track quite well here and the passion of the fans in the Czech Republic, we tried something really special and made some changes on the bike, weight distribution and gearbox for race two and the result was very good so I’m happy,” said Biaggi.

“For me it’s the 10th victory here and this is my second home country. I love this place!”

Biaggi now has won half of the races in this year’s championship, and is well on his way to becoming the first Italian to win the WSBK title, until now dominated by British, Australian and American riders. In fact, only one European rider has won the championship – Raymond Roche in 1990.

Broc Parkes (Honda) was the only Australian to see a chequered flag at Brno, and he was in the points on both occasions with 13-12 finishes.

In the 18-lap world supersport race, Kenan Sofuoglu (Honda) held off long-time race leader Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) to win by just 0.124secs, with Triumph’s Chaz Davies third.

Sofuoglu now has 183pts, from Lascorz 168 and Brno non-finisher Eugene Laverty (Honda, 161).

Sofuoglu’s Honda team-mate Michele Pirro crashed out of the race, sustaining a broken nose, facial bruising and a fractured right wrist.

Click here for detailed results