A PODIUM FOR MAX IN HIS FIRST BRANDS HATCH! Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Max Biaggi took a superb third place in his first ever race at Brands Hatch in front of a huge sun-baked crowd of over 100,000. The Roman was confident of...
A PODIUM FOR MAX IN HIS FIRST BRANDS HATCH!
Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Max Biaggi took a superb third place in his first ever race at Brands Hatch in front of a huge sun-baked crowd of over 100,000. The Roman was confident of following that up in the second race, but was judged to have moved before the start and was given a drive-though penalty. He had been well-placed in fourth position at the time, but dropped to sixteenth because of the penalty. After he rejoined the race, he managed to claw his way up to eighth place before the 25-lap race was over.
Max's team mate Yukio Kagayama suffered a heavy crash with only four laps left of the opening race and was stretchered off. He was taken to the Clinica Mobile, where he was found to have severe bruising of both knees, but no other injuries. Despite pain and ligament damage, he rode determinedly and finished a superb fifth in second race.
Series leader James Toseland won both races much to the delight of the huge partisan crowd. It was Toseland's first ever World Superbike win at Brands Hatch and his first ever double and he was so happy that he took off his leathers and threw them into the crowd at the end of the second race! Troy Corser (Yamaha) finished second in race one, helped a little by both Troy Bayliss (Ducati) and Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) crashing out. Max took third spot, with Ruben Xaus (Ducati) a long way back in fourth. Michel Fabrizio took fifth, with fellow Honda rider Roby Rolfo sixth. Race two was a real dogfight between Toseland and Haga for over three quarters of the 25-lapper. But when Toseland pulled out a small advantage, Haga could not respond. At the flag, Toseland's margin of victory over Haga was over one and a half seconds, with Corser close by in third. Fourth went to Fabrizio, with Yukio a gritty fifth and Xaus sixth
Max - Race 1: 3rd, Race 2: 8th
"Considering this was the first time I've raced here, I'm very happy to get a podium in the first race. This track is very different to any track I've ever seen and it is probably the most difficult track I've ever raced at. It's a real fun track to ride when you know where you are going and what makes it even more special is that the fans are so close and you can hear them!
"I want to apologise to my team for what happened in race two. I must have moved a little on the line and because of that I was given a ride-through penalty. So I went from fourth to sixteenth and then had to fight hard to get back into the points. But I rode as hard as I could and managed to get up to eighth. If the race had been one lap longer, I'm sure that I would've passed Bayliss and taken seventh. I'm sorry for the team, because I think I could have given them another podium. So I'm disappointed for this, but happy overall because I think I showed everybody my ability."
Yukio - Race 1: DNF, Race 2: 5th
"I am very disappointed today because I think I could've taken two podiums. In race one, I was shadowing Max and waiting to make my move, but crashed just four laps from the end. I had worked out how and where I was going to pass him, but I had a little brake problem going into Clearways and down I went. It is a fast place to crash! I hurt both my knees in the crash and damaged a ligament in my right knee and that made it hard for me to get comfortable on the bike. It was hard just to get my right foot down on the ground at the start of the second race and then move it around on the footpegs. I also had some problems with nearly highsiding a few times, so in the end I decided that I didn't want to crash again and rode steadily for a finish. I will have a little holiday now and be back to full fitness for the next race, where I shall be chasing podiums again."
-credit: alstare suzuki