After moving past Carlos Checa for the overall lead early in the season, Max Biaggi held steady at the top of the points list for most of 2012. A brief stint which saw Marco Melandri move ahead of the Roman served as the only shift in fortune, but Biaggi soon moved back into the lead after Melandri’s horrendous luck at Nurburging and Portimao.
Thanks to shortened contests at Monza and Silverstone, many riders on the grid had half-points to their credit, and entering the final round of competition at Magny-Cours, Biaggi was ahead of second-placed rider, Tom Sykes by 30.5. Melandri was 38.5 points adrift of the Aprilia ace and also had a chance to recover the overall lead, should Biaggi have struggled in the final races.
Race 1 at Magny-Cours was declared wet and the win went to Sylvain Guintoli, who was followed by Melandri and Sykes in second and third respectively. Biaggi, on the other hand, opened the title door wide after crashing out of competition. This left the Italian in control of his own fate, but also in the precarious situation of having to finish fifth or better to hold on to the overall lead ahead of Sykes.
Biaggi had a dismal start in Race 2 and was back in 10th through the opening laps. Sykes held up his end of the bargain and took the front early, leading every lap and scoring the race win. Biaggi battled hard through the pack though, and by Lap 15 had made it into fifth, where he held to the checkers. The final score for the season was Biaggi, 358; Sykes, 357.5.
Following his win Biaggi announced his retirement. After a long and lustrous career, and his historic 2012 season, it seemed fitting for the Roman to go out on top. He won’t be far from the track in 2013 though, as Biaggi is now set to serve as co-commentator for Italian TV Mediaset, who recently picked up broadcast rights to show WSBK, Supersport and Superstock in his home country.
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Memorable Moments of World SBK 2012
First WSBK Round at Moscow Raceway
2012: Tom Sykes’ Breakout Year
World SBK and MotoGP Under One Roof
Joan Lascorz at Imola
Wet Weather/Dubious Track Conditions in 2012
Biaggi Wins 2012 Title by Slimmest Margin Ever