If things continue they way they are, Max Biaggi may end up looking back at the two races at Misano as the two that won him the 2012 World Superbike Championship, the factory Aprilia rider finishing a perfect day at the newly named Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli to open up a commanding 38.5-point lead in the championship.
Although there's plenty of racing left on the schedule, Biaggi was flawless today in taking his first two-race sweep of the season and his first win of the year since the season opener in Australia in February. In between Phillip Island and Misano, Biaggi has been a model of consistency while his rivals have continued to misfire.
Today's big misfire came from defending World Champion Carlos Checa, the Spaniard getting knocked down by Marco Melandri in race two after finishing second to Biaggi in the first race. Checa's crash came early in the race and leaves him with a 60-point deficit to Biaggi in the championship.
Second in race two went to Honda's Jonathan Rea, the Northern Irelander now a solid second in the championship and trialing Biaggi, 210.5-172. Rea is 7.5 points ahead of Kawasaki's Tom Sykes, the Brit finishing seventh in race two.
Biaggi beat Rea by 5.3 seconds, leaving the Honda man to fight it out for second with fellow Brit Leon Haslam and the factory BMW. The spot went to Rea, but only just with Haslam crossing the line just .376 of a second behind.
Fourth went to Haslam's teammate Marco Melandri, the Italian bouncing back from his non-finish in race one to score 13 points in race two. Melandri is fourth in the title chase, but is a whopping 55 points behind Biaggi. He is also under investigation for some of his passing antics in race two.
Although an Aprilia won and a Honda finished second, BMWs ruled the next four spots with Haslam and Melandri third and fourth on the factory bikes with Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio fifth and sixth on the BMW Motorrad Italian Goldbet S1000 RRs.
Fabrizio was some 10 seconds behind Badovini and in a brawl for sixth with Sykes and his Kawasaki teammate Loris Baz. The three crossed the line together - Fabrizio, Sykes and Baz - and covered by just .339 of a second. Matteo Baiocco, on the Bama Racing Team Italia Ducati, rounded out the top 10.
Several of the top men failed to finish and most of them were crashers. As mentioned earlier, Checa was the first of the stars to go, but Fixi Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier also went down, though he was able to remount to finish 15th; Checa's teammate David Giugliano, the third-place finisher from race one, was another crasher; ditto for Chaz Davies, Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli, who also came out on the short end of the stick in a run in with Melandri.
American John Hopkins battled back from an off-track excursion to finish 14th.
The two wins were the 18th and 19th of Biaggi's World Superbike career.
1. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
2. Jonathan Rea (Honda)
3. Leon Haslam (BMW)
4. Marco Melandri (BMW)
5. Ayrton Badovini (BMW)
6. Michel Fabrizio (BMW)
7. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
8. Loris Baz (Kawasaki)
9. Jakub Smrz (Ducati)
10. Matteo Baiocco (Ducati)
14. John Hopkins (Suzuki).