Misano WSBK: Biaggi wins first-race thriller

Biaggi extends his title lead to 30 points
Biaggi extends his title lead to 30 points Picture: Paul Sturman

Aprilia’s Max Biaggi has taken the first World Superbike race win at Misano this morning, holding off a spirited charge from reigning champion Carlos Checa who had to get past team-mate Davide Guigliano to stand on the podium second step.

Both Biaggi and Checa had to come from the middle of the grid, with the Spaniard also running off track in the early stages, and look after their tyres over the 24 laps while early pace setter Jonathan Rea slowly slid backwards as his Pirelli ran out of grip. Rea tried a tyre he had hardly used in practice because of a lower track temperature and the gamble didn’t pay off.

The young Irishman was first off the line with Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes, Guigliano and Leon Haslam in close proximity. Checa came up to tenth from 16th in the first couple of corners while Biaggi was seventh and dicing with his Aprilia stable-mate Eugene Laverty.

As Rea started to make a break, Guigliano was swapping paint with Sykes while Haslam tried to find a way past both of them, which he did with nine laps on the board as Marco Melandri, on the sister S1000RR, also made a move towards the front and Checa recovered with a lap record of 1’36.080 and got his head down.

Guigliano wasn’t having any of Haslam’s moves, though, and fought straight back. Rea got his lead up to 1.5s while Melandri caught the chasing pack. The BMW pair then began to run out of tyre and slip back down the order as Rea also began to have grip problems.

It didn’t take long for Checa to get back to the front as Sykes also slid back down the order and it was left to Guigliano, Biaggi and Checa to fight for the podium. With three laps to go, both the Italian and the Spaniard found a way past Guigilano and immediately pulled gap.

Checa could do nothing about Biaggi’s pace however and the Roman Emperor increases his title lead to 30 points over Tom Sykes, who just got the better of Rea for fourth place. The Irishman vaults into third place ahead of both Checa and Melandri, who scored no points as he pulled in with only a couple of laps left.

Chaz Davies got his tyre choice absolutely bang on and quietly made his way from 21st on the grid to nick sixth from Laverty on the last lap. Sylvain Guintoli finished in eighth with Jakub Smrz and Suzuki’s Leon Camier rounding out the top ten.

Haslam battled on and ended the race just behind Ayrton Badovini on satellite BMW while John Hopkins, on the second Fixi Suzuki, just missed the points in 17th.

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