CHAMPION BY HALF A POINT!
PH2 belatedly catches up with one of the most exciting WSB finales ever!
Heading into the final round at Magny Cours, Max Biaggi on his Aprilia looked a sure-fire certainty to secure his second WSB championship to add to his four 250GP titles. All he had to do was stay out of trouble...
Race on and on a damp track the unthinkable happened, Max hit the deck on lap two, surrendering a stack of points and with home-town hero Sylvain Guintoli taking the win with Marco Melandri second and Tom Sykes third. It was all to play for in the final race of the year.
Fair play, you have to hand it to Sykes. He has been the man of the 2012 WSB season and if it wasn't for a blown engine at the last round what could have been? Knowing it was win or bust, Sykes stormed to the front and through sheer determination kept his Kawasaki there all race, putting the title's fate in Biaggi's hands. The Italian needed to finish fifth or higher and there was a stack of riders who wanted to stop him doing this.
One of the most fascinating races for years unfolded as each time someone overtook you were left calculating what that would mean to for the championship. Unfortunately for Sykes a huge highside by Melandri and Haslam also hitting the dirt, not to mention the terrible top speed of the two Ducati riders, allowed Max to squeeze into fifth with a handful of laps to go, a place he held onto to finish the race. Champion by just 0.5 points from a gutted but magnanimous Sykes - what an awesome season of racing.