Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) did enough during a tough Imola race day to earn his, Aprilia's and Italy's first Riders' World Championship in WSBK. Biaggi had to work hard for his title on home soil, finishing in 11th place in race one and enduring another dramatic race to fifth that finally gave him the title. Once his only title rival, Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare), was forced out of race two at mid-race distance Biaggi did not need to finish to be crowned champion, but he crossed the line fifth in any case, to the roars of the 69,000 strong weekend crowd. Biaggi now has 413 points to Haslam's 350, with one round and a maximum of only 50 points remaining.
Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) won both Imola races, the first after a race-long fight, the second after breaking away early. He is now only 14 points behind the injured Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) in the fight for an eventual third place, with Rea not racing today and also not sure if he will be racing in the final round or not. Cal Crutchlow is in overall fifth, 35 points behind Checa, posting tenth and third places today. Haga's double podium today puts him one point behind Crutchlow, in sixth. James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) is seventh, but only three points up on Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki Alstare) due to two crashes and non-finishes today.
Raceday in Italy was all about Biaggi and Aprilia, but in one way the job is not quite finished, as the Manufacturers' Championship is still to be decided at the final round, with Aprilia currently 41 points ahead of Ducati.
Max Biaggi: "I'm so happy, it's a big emotion through all my body. This is fantastic. It's like a dream come true, I never stopped to dream to make it happen. It was always in my mind. In fair conditions I expected it myself, OK this year we at Aprilia did a good job, there are tough riders out there, I don't want to take anything away from them, some are more consistent than others but they are all fast and this championship is very competitive. I had so many problems in race 1, off the track, on the track, the bike sideways but I didn't crash. It was very tough, for sure we didn't get the best set-up here at Imola, it's not an easy track but I never stopped to try. In race 2 we changed the bike and I attacked from the first lap. This is a really great day for me, for all my team, for Aprilia Alitalia, my sponsors, everyone who supported us to make this dream come true. We really made it happen."