Current World Superbike Champion Carlos Checa piloted his Ducati 1098R to an emphatic 5.7sec victory in the second and final race of the opening round of the season at Phillip Island in Australia.
In hot, blustery conditions which saw wind assisted top speeds of 202 mph (325 km/h) by Biaggi's Aprilia, Checa led from the early part of the race and extended his lead as Rea (Honda) and Sykes (Kawasaki) fought out the minor places.
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While Checa's ride may have dominated the race, it was Biaggi's everyone was watching. After running wide on the very first corner he left the track and then managed to keep it upright to rejoin the race. From then on it was a slow grind to make up ground from dead last position and, to the crowd's continued delight, he did. Relentlessly.
With only a handful of laps left Biaggi had got up into 4th position but was still 8 seconds behind the front group. In a masterful display of guts and determination he reeled in Sykes to take 3rd and then swallowed Rea for 2nd. He was even whittling down Checa's lead when he just ran out of laps so, between them both, we can see there's a lot of life left in the old dogs yet!
But it was thrilling right to the end as Sykes' Kawasaki was all over Rea's Honda like a coat of paint and Rea bravely held him off until a small mistake on the final corner allowed the Kawasaki through to take 3rd.
Stay tuned for Gizmag's in-depth interview with Pirelli Racing Director Giorgio Barbier and development technician Fabio Meni who talk about the way Pirelli go about making racing tires. As far as technology goes, no single engineering development has as much impact on the speed, handling and performance of a racing machine than the tires it rides on, so make sure you check it out.
Photos: Oli Bochsler / Gizmag.comView gallery - 9 images