WSBK: Biaggi And Aprilia Take The Top Spot At Brno
Biaggi take the Aprilia RSV4 to its first victory in the Czech Republic
The very first victory in 2009 to combine the names of Max Biaggi and Aprilia has arrived from the historic and prestigious Brno circuit, home to the Czech round of the Superbike world Championships. The Roman driver secured his ninth victory on this track which saw him triumphant during a period from 1994 to 1996 with the RSW 250cc and which then led to three world championship titles. Max Biaggi, started off well, right behind a phenomenal Corser who took off like a rocket from the second row.
The course of the race changed during the third lap, with Spies taking the lead followed by the Roman on his RSV4 and Fabrizio’s Ducati. The three stepped up the pace, leaving their competitors behind. But an episode that would change the entire race took place during the fifth lap. Fabrizio, in second position, attempted to pass Spies on the inside, but about halfway through the turn he lost control of his front wheel, taking the blameless American down with him. At that point, Biaggi had the track ahead all to himself and began to push the pace, given that Checa was less than a second behind him. Max managed to gain a few tenths of a second per lap over the Spaniard and his Honda. Just five laps from the finish, with a two-second difference by then, Biaggi lost Checa who crossed the finish line with a time difference of 3:631, ahead of his teammate Rea, who came in third, 9:948 behind Biaggi.
Today Max Biaggi secured his fourth SBK victory, bringing Aprilia back to the top of the podium for the ninth time in the world championships for production derived bikes, a category from which the company had been absent since 2001 when Regis Laconi won Race 2 at Imola with the then two-cylinder RSV1000. It was an unlucky Race 1 for Shinya Nakano who, starting off from fifteenth position, managed to reach ninth place but was then forced to withdraw due to an electrical problem.
“It’s fantastic,” said Biaggi. “I still can’t believe it, I’m feeling some indescribable emotions. The last few laps were a series of flashbacks of my previous eight wins here at Brno. It was a very, very difficult race. Once I was in the lead, I pushed really hard but I couldn’t break away from Checa and Rea who were really quite competitive. I’m sorry about the accident that Fabrizio caused, but that’s the type of thing that can happen in a race. I want to thank my entire team and Aprilia for this victory, especially Gigi Dall’Igna who is a bit like the father of the RSV4 and who unfortunately couldn’t be here in Brno this time. I’m very proud to have been the first to win with this new generation motorcycle, just like in ’94 with the 250cc when we won the first championship title together.”
The 75,000 spectators in attendance watched a spectacular Race 2. Biaggi re-opened a race that already seemed to be over during the initial laps, duelling it out with his rivals up to the very last metre. In the end it was Ben Spies on his Yamaha who took home the victory with a 0:213 lead over the Roman driver. Fabrizio finished in third place again, stopping the clock just 0:675 behind Spies. The start was a carbon copy of Race 1, with Corser taking off like a missile, but by the end of the first lap, Spies, Fabrizio and Biaggi had broken away. The American seemed to have secured the top position, immediately gaining a one second lead over his adversaries, who by refusing to give up, however, managed to shave off a few tenths of a second with the persistence they displayed lap after lap.
During the seventh lap, an extremely close battle began between Fabrizio and Biaggi, with the latter attempting to pass his rival several times, but failing to do so and the Ducati driver gaining back his position time and again. This continued up until the fifteenth lap when Biaggi finally managed to pass Fabrizio and took off after Spies, who in the meanwhile had managed to pull ahead a few more metres. However, during the next lap, his advantage had decreased, thanks to Biaggi’s fastest lap, resulting in a new track record at 1:59:961 with Biaggi glued right to the back of the American’s motorcycle, inflaming the race as well as the public that was watching it. The RSV4 seemed to be getting the better of the R1, but Spies somehow managed to fight off Biaggi’s attacks, crossing the finish line first with the Roman driver right on his tail. Thanks to his victory in Race 1 and the second place finish in Race 2, Max has moved into fifth place in the championship classification while Aprilia consolidates its fourth place position in the manufacturer’s championship. Nakano finished in eleventh place, and after a good start managed to keep up with the group that was battling it out for the seventh position.
“After the victory in the first race, second place is really a great result,” declared Biaggi. “I can’t help but be satisfied with a weekend like this one. I battled it out for a long time with Fabrizio and it wasn’t easy to pass him. Plus Spies had set an excellent pace and began pushing ahead right from the get go. I caught up with him right away, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to take the victory away from him, his bike was really stable and he had some great breakaways. We changed the rear suspension for Race 2 and I believe it was the right choice. Now after the holidays, we’ll be going to Germany, where it won’t be easy because we’re going to have to start from scratch again and I hope to find myself in the same situation as today and to have these very same types of races.”
“After the disappointment of the first race,” declared Nakano, “I started off rather well in the second race. We had changed the bike’s settings and it was better, so I was battling it out for seventh position the whole time. When I would try to push forward though, I had some problems at the front of the bike, so I couldn’t force it. Eleventh place is certainly not a good result, after these three, very difficult days. I’m going to have to go into the next race at Nurburgring with a different attitude.”