SUPERMAX RUNNER UP IN RACE TWO! Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Max Biaggi charged his way from the third row of the grid to take a superb second place in race two at Valencia this afternoon. The Italian stormed through the field, lap ...
SUPERMAX RUNNER UP IN RACE TWO!
Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Max Biaggi charged his way from the third row of the grid to take a superb second place in race two at Valencia this afternoon. The Italian stormed through the field, lap by lap, to fight the leaders, James Toseland (Honda) and Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) in the closing stages. He dived past Haga on the very last lap and then attacked Toseland in the final few corners, but just couldn't get past the Briton and so had to settle for second place. Max's tremendous performance in the second race was the highlight of the day for the team, with Max taking a hard fought for eighth in race one and his team mate Yukio a low scorer in both 23-lappers due to his injuries and some tyre problems.
Local hero Ruben Xaus (Ducati) won the first race after a terrific battle with first Troy Bayliss (Ducati) and then Haga after half distance. The Spaniard dominated proceedings after about twelve laps and took a comfortable win by nearly two seconds. Bayliss took third, with Troy Corser (Yamaha) fourth, Toseland fifth and Lanzi (Ducati) sixth. Race one winner Xaus was again in contention in the first half of race two, but then was passed by Toseland and Haga, before succumbing to pressure from Max on lap sixteen. Once Max got past the Spaniard, he set about reeling in Haga and Toseland and managed to sneak past Haga when the Japanese rider left a small gap three or four turns from the end. He closed in on leader Toseland, but the youngster held him off to take the chequered flag by just over two tenths of a second. Haga easily held on to third, with Xaus some way back in fourth. Fifth was Lanzi, with reigning champion Bayliss back in sixth.
MAX - Race 1: 8th, Race 2: 2nd
A mixed day, but it is good to finish on an up with a podium in the second race. Valencia is a very difficult track to race at unless it is perfectly dry. When there are damp patches around, it is very tricky and you have to concentrate 100% all the time. I didn't have such a good feeling in the first race - some of the problems that we've had all weekend and also some problems with engine braking. On the brakes going into turns, I didn't have a consistent feeling about what was going on, so it made me a bit cautious. We made some changes to the bike for the second race - clutch feeling, a few clicks on the suspension and a harder front tyre and certainly the tyres worked better, possibly also because the track was completely dry. Starting from the third row of the grid is always a challenge and I couldn't attack the first corner because of all the cement dust there from a crash earlier. That had left a lot of oil on the track and it had to be cleaned and then cement dust put down. That meant there was only really one line through the turn, so I couldn't use a different line and pass a few people striaghtaway. I got held up by traffic, but I was pushing hard right from the start for sure. I kept up a good fast pace and at the end, I felt I could get past Nori and that's what I did. I tried to catch James, but just ran out of time and laps, but I am happy to get second today after starting from twelfth place.
YUKIO - Race 1:15th, Race 2: 13th
Not such a good day for me today, but I knew this was going to be very hard before the races began. I am not fit yet and the pain in my shoulders meant that getting the bike to change direction was very hard - and painful! And Valencia is quite a physically demanding track, so you don't get any real chance to rest at all. Also, in the first race, we made the wrong rear tyre choice and after 15 laps it was destroyed and so I couldn't keep up a fast pace. We used a similar tyre in the second race, but it performed better, but there were still a lot of slides in the last third of the race. In both races, I got some false neutrals and that made life interesting! After this weekend, I need some rest and then I will be in better condition for the next race in Assen. Unfortunately, it is in only two weeks time, so I will not have much chance to rest and then get fit, but I know that I'll be in better shape then now.