Aprilia Alitalia’s Biaggi jumped out to the lead in Race One with Suzuki Alstare’s Haslam close behind. The two riders traded the lead through the race, both well ahead of the pack. Biaggi gained the advantage on lap 17 of the 22 lap race and held off several final-lap challenges to win by 0.200 seconds.
Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea finished third, overcoming a first-lap bump forced him into the gravel, dropping him down to 12th place. Rea fought his way back up to the front to take the final podium spot, finishing half a second ahead of Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa and Aprilia Alitalia’s Leon Camier.
Race Two began with Biaggi taking another early lead, this time with Rea on his tail. The Honda rider would take the lead on lap two as Haslam and Yamaha Sterilgarda’s Cal Crutchlow joined the lead pack.
The four riders continued at the front until lap eight when Rea was forced to retire with a mechanical problem.
“In race two I was holding my own with Biaggi but messed up the last corner on lap five, I think, so Leon and Crutchlow got by,” says Rea. “I was still feeling pretty comfortable, but then heard a funny noise going down the straight a couple of laps later, so I pulled in the clutch and that was it. It’s pretty frustrating watching the end of a race from the garage, and we need to make some in-roads to get back to the front soon.”
Biaggi and Haslam would battle for the lead the rest of the race with Biaggi gaining the advantage on the second-last lap. Haslam put in another challenge on the final stretch but Biaggi again emerged with the victory, this time by 0.191 seconds, for his first career WSBK double.
“It is great to get my first double win in World Superbike. The feeling is great and the first double-win of anybody this year so I feel confident and we are in a good rhythm,” says Biaggi. “We go to Valencia next and we will ask very much of ourselves there as well. We had good speed down the straight today but if you saw how fast we could exit the last corner then you would know it was not just the engine. Our bike is fast but other bikes are also fast.”
With a pair of runner-up finishes, Haslam sits on top of the rider standings with 85 points, ahead of Biaggi with 69.
“If anybody had told me before the start of the season that I would’ve won one race and taken three podiums in the first four races, I would not have believed them,” says Haslam. “It’s a great feeling to win a race, take three runner-up spots; and be leading the championship and my aim is to try and maintain this kind of consistency as long as I can.”
Rea had a strong weekend and could have had better results if it weren’t for some bad luck. Checa had a good weekend with a pair of fourth-place finishes, moving him to third in the standings. The same could not be said for the two factory Ducati riders, Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio. The Ducati Xerox riders started on the fifth row and were non-factors in either race. Haga finished with a pair of eighth-place finishes while Fabrizio had two 11th-place results.
The 2010 WSBK Championship continues April 11 in Valencia, Spain.