Biaggi Sets Practice Pace on WSBK Return

by Louis Suddaby

Max Biaggi made a sensational return to World Superbikes by topping the timesheets in both Friday practice sessions at Misano. The two-time champion has come out of retirement for two rounds, the second of which will be at Sepang in August, and doesn’t appear to have lost any of his speed, Biaggi leading the field by a quarter of a second.

Biaggi was impressive from the very start, going quickest in the morning session by half a second from Chaz Davies’ Ducati but Giugliano hit problems on the sister Panigale, suffering a dramatic crash before he had even registered a lap time. The 25 year old didn’t make the same mistake in the afternoon and even went fastest fifteen minutes from time but Biaggi would have the last word, clocking a 1:35.380 to end the day on top.

Davies also enjoyed a spell at the top of the leaderboard but eventually slipped to third, six thousandths behind his teammate, while Leon Haslam all-but matched the Ducatis to finish in fourth spot. The all-conquering Kawasakis didn’t have things all their own way today with championship leader Jonathan Rea down in fifth, just ahead of teammate Tom Sykes, but the British duo were part of a five-rider pack covered by just 0.104s.

Jordi Torres was seventh fastest on the third factory Aprilia ahead of Leandro Mercado while Alex Lowes squeezed his Suzuki into the top ten in ninth, fractionally faster than Matteo Baiocco. As a result, both PATA Hondas head into FP3 outside the top ten with Sylvain Guintoli eleventh and Michael van der Mark seventeenth, the latter fortunate to escape a high speed crash.

Luca Scassa had been expected to figure in the fight to reach SP2 as well but the Italian suffered a crash of his own, causing a fracture to his right collarbone which rules him out of the weekend.



13. Max BiaggiApriliaAprilia Racing Team1:35.380
234. Davide Racing – Ducati SBK Team1:35.631
37. Chaz Racing – Ducati SBK Team1:35.637
491. Leon HaslamApriliaAprilia Racing Team – Red Devils1:35.652
565. Jonathan ReaKawasakiKawasaki Racing Team1:35.672
666. Tom SykesKawasakiKawasaki Racing Team1:35.735
781. Jordi TorresApriliaAprilia Racing Team – Red Devils1:35.966
836. Leandro MercadoDucatiBarni Racing Team1:36.015
922. Alex LowesSuzukiVoltcom Crescent Suzuki1:36.052
1015. Matteo BaioccoDucatiAlthea Racing1:36.096
111. Sylvain GuintoliHondaPATA Honda World Superbike Team1:36.116
1211. Markus ReiterbergerBMWVanZon Remeha BMW1:36.186
1386. Ayrton BadoviniBMWBMW Motorrad Italia SBK1:36.510
1444. David SalomKawasakiTeam Pedercini1:36.557
152. Leon CamierMV AgustaMV Agusta Reparto Corse1:36.657
1659. Niccolo CanepaDucatiAlthea Racing1:36.796
1760. Michael van der MarkHondaPATA Honda World Superbike Team1:36.841
1814. Randy de PunietSuzukiVoltcom Crescent Suzuki1:36.935
1940. Roman RamosKawasakiTeam Go Eleven1:37.230
2099. Luca Racing – Ducati SBK Team1:37.243
2145. Gianluca VizzielloKawasakiGrillini SBK Team1:38.772
2223. Christophe PonssonKawasakiTeam Pedercini1:38.931
2351. Santiago BarraganKawasakiGrillini SBK Team1:39.493
2475. Gabor RizmayerBMWBMW Team Toth1:40.832
2510. Imre TothBMWBMW Team Toth1:43.190

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