Half a point. That's what the 2012 World Superbike Championship came down to after 14 rounds and 28 races with Aprilia's Max Biaggi taking the crown over Kawasaki's Tom Sykes in a thrilling and anxious final race today at Magny Cours in France.
Sykes did all he could do in race two, the Brit leading the entire way and fighting off the pressure applied throughout by Sylvain Guintoli and Jonathan Rea. But Biaggi also did what he needed, working his way forward from 10th to fifth - to take the title by .5 of a point.
The title is Biaggi's second in the World Superbike Championship, the Italian winning five times on the season with six other podium finishes. He also won four 250cc World Championships prior to moving to MotoGP and ultimately the World Superbike Championship.
Sykes, meanwhile, won four times during the 2012 season with nine other podium finishes. His first win of the season at Monza was the costly one as it paid only half points as it didn't run full distance. If that race had paid full points, Sykes would have won the title.
Sykes ended up winning today's second race by 1.3 seconds over Rea, the Honda rider getting the better of Guintoli and his Ducati in the final laps.
Behind them came Aprilia's Eugene Laverty, the Northern Irelander dutifully slowing in the final laps in case he needed to let his teammate by. He didn't and finished fourth, just .8 ahead of Biaggi, who in turn had almost five seconds on Althea Racing's Davide Giugliano, the Italian just in front of his teammate and defending World Champion Carlos Checa.
ParkinGo Aprilia's Chaz Davies, BMW Motorrad Italia's Ayrton Badovini and Fixi Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier rounded out the top 10.
BMW's Marco Melandri, meanwhile, took himself out of the championship when he crashed on the sixth lap of race two. His teammate Leon Haslam also crashed in his last race with the team.
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
2. Jonathan Rea (Honda)
3. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati)
4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia)
5. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
6. Davide Giugliano (Ducati)
7. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
8. Chaz Davies (Aprilia)
9. Ayrton Badovini (BMW)
10. Leon Camier (Suzuki)