Max Biaggi of Italy won both races in the Lucas Oil Utah USA Round of the FIM Superbike World Championship presented by HANNspree at Miller Motorsports Park today.
Biaggi, the veteran rider affectionately known as “The Roman Emperor,” picked up his sixth and seventh race wins of the season on his No. 3 Alitalia Racing Aprilia. The two victories, combined with the mid-race crash and retirement of Suzuki’s Leon Haslam, who led the championship standings since the first race of the year, gives Biaggi the championship lead heading into the series’ next race at Misano, Italy, on June 27.
Spain’s Carlos Checa, riding the No. 7 Althea Racing Ducati 1098R, led both of today’s races convincingly, but retired from both with mechanical issues. It was devastating for the popular Spaniard, who won both races during World Superbike’s debut appearance at Miller Motorsports Park in 2008.
In race one, Haslam finished second, 4.931 seconds behind Biaggi on his No. 91 Team Alstare Suzuki, ahead of Japanese veteran Noriyuki Haga, Biaggi’s teammate Leon Camier of Britain and Australian Troy Corser of the factory BMW team.
In race two, Camier finished 5.899 seconds behind his teammate, giving Aprilia its first-ever 1-2 finish. Sterilgarda Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow of Britain was third, with Haga and Corser rounding out the top five.
Biaggi now leads the championship with 257 points, ahead of Haslam (242), Britain’s Jonathan Rea (151), Checa (141) and Haga (135).
In the World Supersport race, championship points leader Kenan Sofluogu of Turkey captured his second win of a very consistent season. Sofuoglu, riding the No. 54 HANNspree Ten Kate Honda, took the lead from second-starting Eugene Laverty of Ireland on the No. 50 Parkalgar Honda on lap four of the 18-lap contest and never looked back. Laverty finished 1.028 seconds behind, with Joan Lascorz of Spain, Chaz Davies of Britain and Michele Pirro of Italy completing the top five.
Taylor Knapp, of Lapeer, Mich., won the second annual Lucas Oil Superbike Challenge GTO race on his No. 44 Suzuki, posting a 7.030-second margin of victory over Chris Peris on the No. 10 BMW. Geoff May was third, riding the Eric Buell Racing 1190R, with Chris Siglin and Ricky Corey filling out the top five.
The record crowd, estimated at 55,000 by Infront Motor Sports, which owns and operates the FIM Superbike World Championship, enjoyed a myriad of off-track entertainment in addition to the thrilling racing action. Among the highlights were a flyover of four F-16 fighter jets during opening cermonies, a vast display of military hardware and interactive displays, a Tribute Field of 2,010 American flags, a car show, karting, jeep rides on the rock-climbing course and a live classic rock concert on Saturday featuring Foreigner, Styx and Kansas.
The next event at Miller Motorsports Park will feature the SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Championships and the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup. The event will take place next weekend, June 5-6. Tickets are priced at $6 per day for adults, with kids 12 and under being admitted free of charge.