Biaggi Doubles Into Title Lead

Henny Ray Abrams | May 31, 2010

TOOELE, UT, MAY 31: Alitalia Aprilia’s Max Biaggi swept his third double of the year, joined in race two by teammate Leon Camier to give the Italian brand their first ever one-two finish on a sunny afternoon before the last of a three-day crowd of 55,000 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.But the second race victory had some of the same hollow ring as the first. Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa was streaming to victory when he again suffered a machine problem. In the first race he was sidelined by an electrical problem. The cause of the race two DNF, which came early on lap nine, was engine related, he said.As soon as it happened, Biaggi took over the lead and had a solitary ride to the victory, beating Camier by 5.899 secs. The podium was Camier’s second of the year. And the wins and podiums were the first for what Biaggi called the “new Aprilia,” an update of the RSV4 engine with gear driven cams.”Where do I start, really?” Camier asked. “The start of the weekend didn’t go according to plan, really. I had a couple of crashes, and I sort of managed to turn it around for the second one.”The first race, we had a bit of a bad front tire and maybe a bit of a setting thing and a bad choice. Yeah, the second one’s gone awesome, so massive thank you to Aprilia; they’ve done an awesome job as you can see. I think it’s Aprilia’s first 1-2 in Superbike. I’m absolutely over the moon with that, and well done to Cal (Crutchlow). He was pushing me hard the whole way and I just managed to sort of hold him off at the end, and Max just had a bit more pace.”Nothing I can really say-he was just stronger. Massive thanks to the fans; you guys have been awesome. As Cal said-clapping and waving. Massive thank you to everyone.”Sterilgarda Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow took the final podium spot, then jokingly asked, “Do you want me to talk about my race, or life in general?”I think we deserved that. The first race, we were unfortunate-got caught up in somebody else’s crash and just ran off the track. I think we came back strongly the second race, and all credit to Max (Biaggi) and Leon (Camier); they rode a superb race.”I think we’ve turned it around. Yamaha has done a good job this weekend. It was a very similar race to what Ben (Spies) ran here last year, and he won the race by nine seconds, so it shows how fast these guys are going. But no, fairly good job. Thank you very much for your support. It’s been good, riding down pit lane and people clapping us on the way out and way in. It’s much appreciated.”Biaggi’s win, his sixth in 14 races this year, couldn’t have come at a better time as championship leader Leon Haslam crashed out on the eighth lap. That meant that Biaggi could take full advantage of his position and vault into the points lead. At the halfway point in the 13-meeting season, Biaggi has 257 points to 242 for Haslam. Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea, sixth today, is a distant third at 151.”Hey, why did you say my name very soft?: “m-a-x b-i-a-g-g-i.” It should be “MAX BIAGGI!” the race winner said. “Anyway, what can I say? Just a fantastic day for me here in Salt Lake City. We made a double win, and that was my dream. Before we came here, I was hoping and dreaming to make a double win-just what I need. I was also a little bit lucky because Checa had some trouble, but anyway, this is 50 points very helpful to me and my team. I’m happy for my teammate.”This machine is only one and a half years old, and we developed the bike very, very strong, and the engineers made a good job. I’m very happy for my Aprilia friends. The people understand this bike is a winning machine, and it’s strong and competes with the Japanese manufacturers. Thanks, guys, for your support, because you’re very great to me. I have to come back here and race again.”Behind Crutchlow came Ducati Xerox’s Nori Haga, just over half a second up on BMW’s Troy Corser. Corser had run third early on before slipping back.Corser, in turn, had nearly three seconds over the fight for sixth. Suzuki Alstare’s Sylvain won that battle from Althea Ducati’s Shane Byrne. Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea was by himself in eighth, as was Haga’s teammate Michel Fabrizio in ninth. Luca Scassa finished tenth on the Supersonic Racing Team Ducati.The race began at 3:30 local time with Checa taking the lead on lap one from Biaggi by the first split. The lap ended with Checa leading Biaggi, Corser, Camier, Xaus, Rea, Crutchlow, Toseland, Haga, and Haslam, who got an awful start, as he had in race one.Checa led across the stripe on lap two with Biaggi, Corser and Camier trailing in front of Xaus, Rea and Crutchlow. Haga moved up to eighth and the next lap Haslam was into ninth.Crutchlow took sixth from Rea on the fifth lap and later passed Xaus for fifth.Checa was keeping the pace at the front and looked to be on his way to victory after the heartbreak of race one. The Spaniard crossed the line ending the eighth lap with a 1.155 secs. lead when tragedy struck again. Checa slowed dramatically and pulled to the left on the front straight. He tried twisting the throttle, then shook his head as he pulled off into the grass and dirt, sitting disconsolately as Biaggi again inherited the lead.The ninth lap would prove critical for the championship. Points leader Leon Haslam threw away a sixth place and when Biaggi crossed the line he had four seconds on Corser, with Camier third and Crutchlow a close fourth. Then a gap to Haga and Rea and Toseland and Guintoli, with Fabrizio fronting a tight quartet from ninth.Eleven laps into the 21-lap race Biaggi had just over four seconds on Corser, with Camier and Crutchlow in tow. Then a gap to Haga, and a loose string behind; fifth to 12th was covered by 4.5 secs.Roger Lee Hayden slid out in the final corner while in 17th, then rode into the pits.Camier passed Corser for second on the 13th lap, with Crutchlow going by a lap later.The order at the two-thirds point was Biaggi by 4.349 secs. on Camier, with Crutchlow and Corser on the same second. Haga was alone and well clear of Toseland, whose day would soon end. The two-time World Superbike champion tucked the front in “Witchcraft,” a fast right-hander.That re-set the order and put Guintoli in sixth. Rea, Byrne, Fabrizio, and Smrz were all within a little over a second. Byrne shook up the order by passing Rea on the 17th lap.Smrz suffered another mechanical problem in the second race. Having suffered a transmission problem in the first, he was sidelined in the second with less than three laps to run.Biaggi cruised to the finish, his second win of the day. Camier was by himself in second, then Crutchlow, Haga and Corser.Guintoli won the race for sixth from Byrne with Rea alone in eighth and Fabrizio alone in ninth. Scassa and Xaus filled out the top ten.


1.Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

2. Leon Camier (Aprilia)

3. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)

4. Nori Haga (Ducati)

5. Troy Corser (BMW)

6. Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki)

7. Shane Byrne (Ducati)

8. Jonathan Rea (Honda)

9. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)

10. Luca Scassa (Ducati)

11. Ruben Xaus (BMW)

12. Max Neukirchner (Honda)

13. Chris Vermeulen (Kawasaki)

14. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)

15. Broc Parkes (Honda)

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.