Max Biaggi is atop the WSBK standings again, despite a weekend of mixed results.
Biaggi took the first win of this weekend’s double-header at Nurburgring; he went in to the weekend with 290 points, to leader Marco Melandri’s 308.5. He won Superpole, then tucked in behind Tom Sykes in Race 1, following until lap 12, when he pulled in front and worked his way to the win, and a load of points. Melandri, meanwhile, was busy crashing out; that left Biaggi in the lead with 325 points after Race 1 – not a bad weekend’s work.
Race 2 didn’t go so well for the Roman Emperor; he ended up crashing his Aprilia on the first lap. He battled back, though, and pulled off a 13th-place finish – once again ahead of Melandri, who crashed again in Race 2, allowing Biaggi to extend his lead further.
Chaz Davies, meanwhile, had a fantastic weekend aboard the ParkinGO MTC Aprilia. He bagged a third-place finish in Race 1, (Eugene Laverty took second in both of the weekend’s races), then took the victory in Race 2. Then, BMW announced they’d signed him to their factory team, alongside Marco Melandri. Not bad for a rookie! Of course, that means Ben Spies won’t be getting this ride. It also puts a question on Leon Haslam’s future (7th in Race 1, DNF in Race 2 due to a crash); rumour has him going to Honda.
Third place in Race 2 went to FIXI Crescent’s Leon Camier aboard his Suzuki GSX-R 1000; he was the only podium winner all weekend who wasn’t aboard an Aprilia. He’d taken fifth place in Race 1.
After his strong start in Race 1, Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes ended up with a fourth-place finish in Race 1, and a fifth-place finish in Race 2, behind fourth-place Jonathon Rea (Honda), who’d earned a DNF in Race 1 after crashing. Sykes and teammate Loris Baz both crashed in Race 1; Baz didn’t manage to return, but did nab an eight-place finish in Race 2.
This weekend was also Canadian Brett McCormick’s first WSBK race after crashing badly this spring. He raced to a 15th-place finish in Race 1 and earned his first WSBK point, but got a DNF in Race 2, when mechanical problems forced him off the track.
“The neck has not given me problems and I really enjoyed it,” McCormick said after the race. “For the last two races we will have fun. We are ready for Portimao. I know that track and now we have the basis for the setting of the next race.”
McCormick’s team, Liberty Racing, continued their off-track hijinks; before Race 1, they announced they were letting rider Jakub Smrz go, replacing him with Italian Lorenzo Lanzi; the team already ditched Sylvain Guintoli and skipped the Moscow round due to “reorganizing.” The word on the street is that the team is financial trouble. Hopefully McCormick won’t have this stuff going on in the background next season.
World Superbike series standings after 13 of 14 events (23 of 27 races)
1. Max Biaggi, Italy, Aprilia Racing Team, 318
2. Marco Melandri, Italy, BMW Motorrad Motorsport, 308.5 points
3. Tom Sykes, U.K., Kawasaki Racing Team, 291.5
4. Carlos Checa, Spain, Althea Ducati, 247.5
5. Jonathon Rea, U.K., Castrol Ten Kate Honda, 225.5
6. Eugene Laverty, U.K., Aprilia Racing Team, 213.5
7. Leon Haslam, U.K., BMW Motorrad Motorsport, 189
8. Chaz Davies, ParkinGO MTC Aprilia, 156.5
9. Sylvain Guintoli, France, PATA Ducati, 143.5
10. Davide Giugliano, Italy, Althea Ducati, 125.
Next race: Portimao, Sept. 23