Reigning superbikes world champion Carlos Checa bounced back from a massive crash in race one to easily win the second race of the 2012 World Superbike Championships opening round at Australia’s Phillip Island course on Sunday.
After a watchful start in the second race of the opening round, the Spanish veteran decided enough was enough on lap five, passing Honda’s Jonathan Rea to move into the lead, which he held for the balance of the 22-lap race.
Ducati pilot Checa has now won four of the past five world superbike races at Phillip Island.
But Italian Max Biaggi claimed the championship lead by winning race one aboard an Aprilia and then charging home ahead of Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes (pictured above) to finish second in race two.
Biaggi ran off the track at turn one while battling with Sykes, and then against all the odds started picking off riders at will, eventually moving into the top 10 by mid-race distance.
Josh Brookes (Suzuki) was the first Australian home in race two in 15th position.
In race one, the 40-year-old Biaggi scored a comfortable victory over fellow Italian Marco Melandri.
Bryan Staring was the leading Australian, making up eight spots from qualifying to finish 10th on his privateer Kawasaki.
While Biaggi enjoyed clear air out in front, there were a number of battles behind him, including a fierce arm wrestle for second place between the BMW of Melandri and Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli on a Ducati, who came in third.
After this first of 14 rounds, Biaggi leads the title race on 45 points ahead of Melandri (30), British rider Sykes (29) and Checa (25).