News 11 Jul 2011

Melandri and Biaggi split wins at Czech Republic round of World Superbike

Italian rivals dominate both races at Brno.

Biaggi and Melandri traded wins on the weekend at Brno.

Biaggi and Melandri traded wins on the weekend at Brno.

Fierce Italian rivals Marco Melandri and Max Biaggi have again trumped their rivals to dominate round eight of the 2011 Superbike World Championship at Brno in the Czech Republic on July 10.

In a repeat of the last round in Spain, the Yamaha backed Melandri prevailed in race one ahead of the reigning world champion, before the tables were turned in the second instalment.

Spain’s Carlos Checa (Ducati) was a close third in both 20 lappers, and now leads the championship by just 30 points ahead of Biaggi (Aprilia) with five rounds still remaining.

Melandri is the only other rider capable of winning the title, and he’s a further 23 points behind Biaggi.

For the truncated Australian presence (BMW’s Troy Corser sat out the round with a broken forearm) Mark Aitchison was the best with 16th and 12th places, while fellow Kawasaki rider Chris Vermeulen laboured to 18th in race one before sitting out the rest of the day.

Vermeulen, who held high hopes of a solid result at the classic Czech circuit, had earlier fallen on Friday morning, re-injuring his elbow and hurting his back.

“We have been struggling all weekend since the crash on Friday morning. I did warm-up and I said to the team I would be okay to race, but 20 laps together was really hard. For the last eight I was riding around to just finish,” said Vermeulen.

“My elbow had really swollen up and my back was sore after Friday. Together with the team we took the decision not to take any more risks and not ride in race two.”

Both Brno world Superbike races were pulsating affairs, with Melandri and Biaggi taking their battles to the wire.

In race one Checa was also right in the thick of it, but his twin-cylinder Ducati just lacked a little bit of punch to be able to break down the defences of his four-cylinder rivals.

With the Spaniard settling for third, that left Melandri to hold off the advances of Biaggi in a frenetic last lap, his Yamaha seemingly able to hold a tighter line than his compatriot’s Aprilia to help him get over the line by just 0.241 seconds.

Race two produced more relentless stalking, but this time the roles were revered in the last few laps, with the veteran Biaggi holding on to win by 0.222 seconds, with Checa another three seconds away in third.

Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki), Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) and Ayrton Badovini (BMW) finished in positions four to six in both races.

Melandri’s victory in race one was his first at Brno in nine years, the last time on a 250 GP bike.

“It’s a great sensation to be on my third win of the season but I still need to do a double,” said Melandri.

“I’m really happy with today’s results. At the beginning of race one I didn’t think I’d catch up on Max, so I immediately passed Eugene in order to tail him.

“I was struggling to keep in front, at times Max was faster than me. Race two was also very difficult. I certainly didn’t give up but it wasn’t easy to keep pushing,” Melandri added.

“Max and I had a nice battle which I think we both enjoyed, and I’m sure the spectators did also. I have to say thanks to the team for doing such a good job again. I’m looking forward to Silverstone.”