Biaggi Retakes Superbike Championship Lead

Max Biaggi retook the World Superbike championship lead with an impressive performance Sunday at the Nürburgring in Germany. (World Superbike Photo)
Max Biaggi retook the World Superbike championship lead with an impressive performance Sunday at the Nürburgring in Germany. (World Superbike Photo)

NURBURG, Germany – Max Biaggi of the Aprilia Racing Team once more leads the points table in the eni FIM Superbike World Championship after two races at the Nürburgring laden with incident and frequent accidents for the top two championship runners.

Biaggi won race one in impressive style, taking his 21st career win and his fifth of the year. In race two Chaz Davies of ParkinGO MTC Team Aprilia won his first Superbike race and, in doing so, became the eighth rider to take a victory in what is proving to be a remarkable 2012 season.

In the first race Biaggi pulled off one of his coolest and most assured wins to re-take the lead in the championship fight.

His victory came after he took the lead from a slowing Tom Sykes, and before the end of the 20 laps both Eugene Laverty and Davies had also passed Sykes, making it a 1-2-3 for riders on Aprilias. Leon Camier was a battling fifth after a last minute glitch on the starting grid, while Melandri crashed out on lap six.

“It’s just a happy moment to be here. The result is the best that we can do, so we can be proud of all the work we did during the weekend. We keep improving the bike especially in the set-up,” said Biaggi. “Overall I could ride well, even though it was slippery basically I could set good lap times. Sykes impressed me with his pace in the first half, and finally he started to lose concentration and maybe grip and I could take him and keep my lap time.”

In race two, Davies claimed his and his team’s first win with an impressive display of eventual front-running, winning by over three seconds and easing up, after top contenders Marco Melandri and Biaggi found the gravel traps.

In a festival of points for British and Irish riders, Laverty was second, and a great ride from Camier saw him recover from a less than perfect start to go third, only losing second place to a late push from Laverty. Biaggi recovered to finish 13th, half a minute down on the winner.

“What a feeling. I got an average start and went the long way round at the first corner,” said Davies. “It was risky but it worked and I was fourth. I was comfortable all race, and knew if I could just get away with the front guys I thought I could stay and that was the case, but I didn’t expect them the mistakes from Marco and Max! In the end it was just a concentration game with myself, keeping the lap times consistent. What a way to repay the ParkinGo team for their efforts.”

The event in Germany brought forward a number of firsts, all of which unfolded under brilliant blue skies and sunshine in front of a weekend crowd of 46,000 spectators.

Aprilia riders went 1-2-3 in the opening race for the first time ever. Camier of FIXI Crescent Suzuki gave his team its first podium finish of the season with a fine third place in race two. The second-place rider in each race was Laverty of the Aprilia Racing Team, taking his first double podium for the Italian manufacturer.

Davies’ race win gave riders from the UK a combined victory total of 118 in individual Superbike contests, joining the USA and Australia on the same record total of 118 victories each.

In the championship Biaggi now has 381 points, Melandri 308.5 and Sykes 291.5, making the fight for the overall title closer between the top three yet again, with only 26.5 points separating them all. Two rounds and four races remain, with everything to play for.