WSBK: 2010 Imola Results

Biaggi cinches WSBK Championship

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Sep. 29, 2010
Max Biaggi captured the World Superbike Championship in the Aprilia RSV4’s second season in the series.

The Aprilia Alitalia racer secured the Championship after an aggressive Leon Haslam of Suzuki Alstare retired with a mechanical issue in Race Two of the Imola round. Biaggi now holds an insurmountable 413-350 lead over Haslam with just one round remaining.

“I’m so happy, it’s a big emotion through all my body. This is fantastic. It’s like a dream come true, I never stopped to dream to make it happen,” says Biaggi who adds the 2010 WSBK title to his four 250cc Grand Prix World Championships. “It was always in my mind. In fair conditions I expected it myself, OK this year we at Aprilia did a good job, there are tough riders out there, I don’t want to take anything away from them, some are more consistent than others but they are all fast and this championship is very competitive.”

The Imola round was a historic day for Italian racing fans, as Biaggi, the “Roman Emperor” cemented the title on an Italian motorcycle on an Italian circuit.  The round also featured the last appearances of the factory Ducati WSBK team on an Italian circuit.

Race One Highlights

Race One began with surprise Superpole winner Tom Sykes taking the holeshot. Sykes gave Kawasaki its first pole start since 2007 and took advantage of the prime starting position. Haslam would follow him into second with PATA B&G Aprilia rider Jakob Smrz and BMW’s Troy Corser close behind. Biaggi, meanwhile, started further back in the pack, struggling with setup issues.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Haslam was aggressive in both races, knowing he had to make up a lot of ground on Biaggi. His aggression hurt him in Race One as he ran into the gravel at a chicane on lap eight. Haslam’s error allowed DFX Corse Ducati rider Lorenzo Lanzi to move into second. Lanzi would move into the lead a lap later as Sykes began to fade.

Lanzi held on lap 16 when Althea Ducati rider Carlos Checa moved into the lead. Haslam passed Lanzi a few laps later and began to chase down Checa when he made a mistake on the final lap and once again ran into the gravel. Haslam recovered to finish fifth, but thanks to an 11th place finish for Biaggi, managed to trim six points off the championship lead.

Meanwhile it was Checa taking the win, finishing ahead of Lanzi and Ducati Xerox’s Noriyuki Haga for a podium sweep for Ducati.

Race Two Highlights

The second race began with another strong start from Sykes. Biaggi had a better start in the second race but still fell behind Sykes, Haslam and Lanzi. Sykes led the opening four laps before Checa surged ahead on lap five. From there on, Checa was uncatchable while attention switched to Haslam and Biaggi battling for the championship.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Haslam moved briefly past Sykes into second, but cut through the gravel on the final chicane and in doing so, was forced to give up his position. Biaggi later made a similar mistake on the same corner and he too had to let Sykes pass through.

The drama ended shortly after however as smoke began to billow from Haslam’s Suzuki GSX-R, forcing him to withdraw and handing Biaggi the championship. With his only challenger out of the race, Biaggi relaxed and coasted to a fifth place finish. Checa won Race Two to complete the double while Haga finished in second ahead of Yamaha Sterilgarda’s Cal Crutchlow.

Max Biaggi is the oldest racer to win his first WSBK Championship. Biaggi will be 39 years, 3 months and 7 days old by the end of the final round at Magny-Cours, compared to Raymond Roche who was 33 years, 8 months and 28 days old when he won his first title in 1990.

“This is a grand,” Biaggi said after winning the WSBK Championship, “In the end – a day which I have greatly desired. I’ve often felt in past years like I hadn’t been placed in the proper conditions to be able to express my worth and to achieve the results that I know I deserve. This is one of the reasons that, at a certain point in my career, I chose this world, the SBK championship, and this is why I wanted to surround myself with the right people for this adventure – because racing isn’t just about speed, tires and an engine. It is also about joy and having fun and with these guys, with this team, I feel at home.”

Biaggi’s work isn’t complete however, as he still faces the task of securing Aprilia the manufacturer’s title. Aprilia leads Ducati 433-392 as the 2010 WSBK Championship moves to France for the season finale at Magny-Cours.