Max Biaggi has won his second World Superbike title – by half a point after 28 races! You can’t expect any series to produce tighter racing than that, particularly when the third-place guy was also in with a chance at the last round.
In addition, in order of finish of the riders, the manufacturers over the season were Aprilia, Kawasaki, BMW, Ducati, and Honda. Five different makes in the top five spots. Makes that Moto GP stuff look kind of sad, doesn’t it?
The drama was increased when Biaggi crashed out of the first race of the day in wet conditions, but struggled back to a fifth in the second go-around to grab the championship. Sykes took a third and a win on the day, oh-so-close to his first title and Kawasaki’s first since the Scott Russell win in 1993.
The first race was wet and patchy, causing many of the usual top runners to crash out, including not only Biaggi but Carlos Checa, Jonathon Rea, and Chaz Davies among others. The victory went to Sylvain Guintoli, the British-based French ace taking his PATA Ducati to probably the 1098’s last win, as the Panigale is due to replace it next season. Guintoli is likely to get scant thanks from the factory, though, as he’s rumoured to be heading to Suzuki in 2013.
Marco Melandri, riding hurt, kept his and BMW’s title hopes alive with a second, while Tom Sykes grabbed a podium, Biaggi’s crash giving him a chance at the title.
In race two, Sykes grabbed the lead on the first lap and wasn’t to be denied, charging to the win he needed if he was going to grab his first WSB championship. Jonathon Rea and Guintoli hung with him, but more to the point Biaggi pushed from his 10th starting position to eventually grab fifth just before the end, that being enough to gain him his second WSB crown.
Both riders had some bad luck during the season; it would be easy to do the “if only” thing about a title ending that close. But both had good luck and bad, and the bottom line is that it only bodes well for another spectacular WSB season in 2013.
World Championship Point Standings (after 28 of 28 races):
1. Max Biaggi, Italy, Aprilia Racing Team, 358 points
2. Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team, 357.5
3. Marco Melandri, Italy, BMW Motorrad Motosport, 328.5
4. Carlos Checa, Spain, Althea Ducati, 287.5
5. Jonathon Rea, U.K., Ten Kate Castrol Honda, 278.5
6. Eugene Laverty, U.K., Aprilia Racing Team, 263.5
7. Sylvain Guintoli, France, PATA Ducati, 213.5
8. Leon Haslam, U.K., BMW Motorrad Motosport, 200
9. Chaz Davies, U.K., ParkinGo Aprilia, 164.5
10. Davide Giugliano, Italy, Althea Ducati, 143