2007-02-24 02:27
Max Biaggi leads the World Superbike Championship after the Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider raced to a victory and second place in today's opening round in Losail, Qatar.

The Italian won the opening 18-lap race from James Toseland (Honda) then finished second to the Briton in race two, which puts them equal on 45 points.

In a tremendous battle with Toseland in the opening race, Biaggi took the lead with five laps to go and controlled the race from the front. He ran out the winner by nearly one and a half seconds from Toseland and Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati). By the time he returned to the parc ferm??, his emotions had got the better of him, but by the time he sprang up onto the podium, he had a huge smile on his face.

His team mate Yukio Kagayama had front tyre problems in the race, but managed to finish fourth.

Race two was another terrific battle between Biaggi and Toseland, but this time Toseland emerged the victor with Troy Corser (Yamaha) third and Kagayama 6th.

Max Biaggi- Race 1: 1st, Race 2: 2nd:

"What a fantastic start to my new Superbike experience. To begin with, a win is wonderful and I dedicate it to our Team Boss Francis Batta who couldn't be here with us today. I'm sure he watched it on TV and it must have made him wish he was here. This championship is tough and for sure there are a lot of good riders, so I don't think it's always going to be like this. I want to thank my team for all their hard work and support over the past few months, which has made all this possible.

"This racing is fun! I wished I had discovered this championship years ago. In the second race, I was catching James Toseland and I think I could've caught him if there had been three or four more laps. We made a small adjustment to the bike for the second race and maybe it wasn't the right thing, but we still nearly managed to win it! Now we are off to one of my favourite tracks, Phillip Island. I'm looking forward to it and having more fun."

Yukio Kagayama- Race 1: 4th, Race 2: 6th:

"I am very frustrated today because I expected to do much better. But I had tyre problems in both races and I couldn't push as hard as I wanted. In race one the problem was the front tyre and after five laps, I didn't have a good feeling, but I kept up quite a good pace. We changed the chassis set-up a little for the second race but this time the problem was at the rear! I suppose the good news is that I didn't crash and I managed to score some good points."

Qatar World Superbike Results:

Race 1:1 Max Biaggi (I-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra), 2 Toseland (GB-Honda), 3 Lanzi (I-Ducati), 4 Yukio Kagayama (J-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra),5 Bayliss (Aus-Ducati), 6 Neukirchner (D-Suzuki), 7 Rolfo (I-Honda), 8 Haga (J-Yamaha), 9 Corser (Aus-Yamaha), 10 Xaus (E-Ducati).

Race 2: 1 Toseland, 2 Max Biaggi (I-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra), 3 Corser, 4 Haga, 5 Nieto (E-Kawasaki), 6 Yukio Kagayama (J-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra), 7 Lanzi, 8 Bayliss, 9 Xaus, 10 Neukirchner.

Championship Points:1 Toseland, Max Biaggi (I-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 45, 3 Lanzi 25, 4 Corser 23, 5 Yukio Kagayama (J-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 23, 6 Haga 21, 7 Bayliss 19, 8 Neukirchner 16, 9 Xaus 13, 10 Nieto 11.

Source: Team Suzuki Press Office

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