WSBK: Penalties & Last Lap Pass Decide Race 2 at Monza

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Reigning World Champion Max Biaggi started his home round of the 2011 World Superbike season at Monza on pole after publicly declaring that this was a weekend to make up points after mistakes at earlier rounds. He started his quest to do so with aplomb, breaking the WSBK speed record and spending extra time on track while doing so. Eugene Laverty, Jonathan Rea, and Tory Corser joined Biaggi on the front row for the start of the second race, leaving Carlos Checa surprisingly down in eleventh after a poor set of Superole sessions on Saturday for the points leader. Most riders had multiple, possibly crucial, laps deleted after running across the chicane.

Meanwhile, injuries continued to plague men already suffering from them. Chris Vermeulen added to his set of scars by tearing the skin on his elbow during a practice crash. That injury, only able to be partially closed, left him unable to race on Sunday. Meanwhile James Toseland also sat out Sunday’s races, despite some vigorous autograph signing, on his predicted return to the WSBK paddock after a testing crash left him with wires in his wrist. Later, Haslam returned to the top of the timesheets in the morning sunshine at Monza, with Biaggi, Laverty, Corser, and Camier the fastest five in Sunday morning’s warmup.

Starting Race 2, Corser was ahead of Biaggi into the first turn. A large crash occurred in the jostling for position behind, leaving a wobbling Rea (who claimed Corser forced his mistake) taking out Haslam and Smrz. As the rest of the field raced away, Biaggi was ahead of Corser at the end of the first lap. Haga, Camier, Melandri, Checa, Fabrizio, Guintoli, Laverty, and Xaus then completed the top ten. Soon, Camier slid under Corser to make it a Aprilia 1-2 at the start of the third lap. Biaggi was quickly away at the front, with a second and a half on his teammate. Meanwhile, Melandri was through on Haga to take fourth.

Melandri and Haga would battle dramatically for the position, leaving Biaggi to increase his gap. He would have a nearly three second lead over Camier after five laps, with Corser, Melandri, Haga, Fabrizio, Laverty, Checa, Guintoli, and Badovini the top ten. Soon thereafter, Corser had a moment that allowed Melandri, Haga, and Fabrizio through. Nearly halfway through the race, Camier dramatically lost the front end while exiting Lesmos 2, crashing out from second, and ending his race.

By the halfway point, Laverty had pushed his way through the field, sliding under Fabrizio for third and setting off to catch his teammate in second. Biaggi was leading the dicing Yamaha riders by five seconds when he went straight and cut a chicane. Biaggi seemed to neither lose nor gain time by this mistake, though he was given a ride-through penalty in precisely the same manner Haga was during Race 1.

Biaggi shook his head vigorously when he saw the penalty signal, finally serving the penalty with a few laps to go. While this drama occurred at the very front, Melandri had gotten back around teammate Laverty for second. With Biaggi’s ride-through, Melandri took over the lead, closely followed by Laverty. Behind them, Fabrizio, Haga, and Corser completed the top five while Biaggi was bogged down in eleventh. Laverty had a go for the lead on the straight, but Melandri was able to brake late enough to keep the position.

Further back on the track, former teammates Fabrizio and Haga diced over the final podium position, with the Italian nudging Haga wide to keep third. Haga responded by attempting an over-under, but was unable to sustain the pass. They were two sets of fighters separated by nearly four seconds, with the latter constantly dicing. In direct opposition, Laverty looked to  be holding firm in second, simply keeping an eye on Melandri and biding his time. Melandri did make a mistake early on the final lap, but Laverty held off on taking the position until a thrilling final turn dice that ended with a double win for Laverty on the weekend.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Monza, Italy:

Pos. No. Rider Team Diff.
1 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team
2 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team 0.327
3 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 2.466
4 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 2.583
5 11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad 4.502
6 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 10.865
7 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 11.038
8 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 18.724
9 17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 20.093
10 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 20.376
11 66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 21.111
12 111 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 28.608
13 44 Roberto Rolfo Team Pedercini Kawasaki 33.459
14 8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedercini Kawasaki 42.810
15 32 Fabrizio Lai Echo Sport Racing Co. Honda 55.759
Not Classified
121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati 5 Laps
2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 11 Laps
96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 18 Laps
91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 18 Laps
4 Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda 18 Laps

Source: WSBK; Photo: Yamaha-Racing