Former multiple world champion Max "the Roman Emperor" Biaggi took his Aprilia RSV4 to victory in the first race of the 2012 World Superbike season at Australia's Phillip Island today.
Starting from second on the grid behind Tom Sykes on the Kawasaki ZX10R and in front of reigning champion Carlos Checa riding his #7 Ducati, Biaggi rode a dominant race after an early incident saw early race-leader Checa retire after a dramatic high-side while exiting the blindingly fast turn 12, fortunately walking away unhurt.
After a tragic race incident yesterday which saw 17 year old Oscar McInyre succumb to his injuries after crashing and colliding with two other riders during the Superstock 600cc Championship race, superpole was cancelled and the WSBK grid was decided after averaging the practice times from the previous two sessions. The fastest rider during practice, Tom Sykes, was awarded pole and he led into the first corner but was then soon overtaken by Checa with Biaggi in hot contention.
Biaggi eventually won by over 8 seconds from fellow Italian Marco Melandri who had an impressive race on his BMW S1000RR to take second podium position from 13th on the grid, with Sylvain Guintoli, the only Ducati to score a podium, coming in third.
We noticed that Carlos Checa had a slight limp in the pits after the race and we hope he is able to be at full strength for the second race.
We also extend our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Oscar McIntyre.
Photos: Oli Bochsler / Gizmag.com