Home hero Max Biaggi has won a thrilling first World Superbike race in Vallelunga in front of thousands of Italian fans.
The race was a spectacle of overtaking manoeuvres which kept spectators on the edge of their sets for the entire 24 laps.
The Alstare Suzuki rider took control to win by 5.638secs once he had got the better of Xerox Ducati’s Troy Bayliss.
Bayliss went in to the lead on the first corner but Britain’s James Toseland, who had a bad start shot through the field to second but was swallowed up by Troy Corser and Noriyuki Haga before the end of the lap.
And the action packed lap one saw Troy Corser, who has been setting fast times all weekend, low side and crash out of the race with Max Neukirchner going out with him.
James Toseland and Noriyuki Haga had a coming together on lap one but both managed to hang on to their bikes.
And with plenty of action going on at the front Ruben Xaus was the next to crash out at the start of lap two. He did manage to get going again.
Troy Bayliss kept himself out of the initial battles to pull away with Max Biaggi hot on his exhaust pipe.
Biaggi made the best of his home advantage at the Italian circuit to pass Troy Bayliss on lap three. But Bayliss fought straight back to reclaim his lead.
The following lap and Suzuki’s Biaggi made a more successful pass on Troy Bayliss and stayed ahead of the Australian.
Noriyuki Haga set a new lap record for the Vallelunga circuit on lap four at 1:37.419.
Haga had Troy Bayliss in his sights and attempted to pass him on lap six with no luck for the Japanese rider. But on lap seven the Yamaha man got the better of Bayliss to move up to second.
Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s James Toseland at this point was sat comfortably in fourth on his CBR1000RR.
Max Biaggi had taken control of the race and by lap nine had built a lead of 2.856secs from Noriyuki Haga.
Lap 11 saw early crasher Ruben Xaus retire from the race.
James Toseland began to real in Noriyuki Haga and Troy Bayliss with the gap closing by 0.2secs each lap. The gap was 1.740secs to Ducati’s Bayliss.
Bayliss knocked Noriyuki Haga down to third once more on lap 13 but the Ducati rider out-braked himself just two corners later and Haga took advantage of the Australian’s mistake.
Troy Bayliss was visibly struggling to brake at corners running wide on several occasions and this allowed Britain’s James Toseland to decrease the gap as he benefited from the Xerox Ducati rider’s problems.
With Max Biaggi building a lead of 6.474secs up front by lap 16, the battle between Bayliss and Haga continued with Bayliss passing the Japanese rider once again but then as he struggled to brake again handing the place back to Haga.
The beginning of lap 17 and Bayliss was back up to second again but Noriyuki Haga was not giving up. In doing so he ran wide to let James Toseland catch right up to his back tyre.
James Toseland’s persistence paid off and he managed to pass Noriyuki Haga. But as with his battle with Troy Bayliss, he was having none of it and reclaimed his podium spot.
Home hero Max Biaggi was up to a lead of 7.399secs on lap 19.
Lap 23 saw the Toselnd and Haga dicing started once more with Toseland passing the Yamaha rider. Haga fought back and reclaimed his third place but Toseland was straight back up for the podium spot.
Max Biaggi took the win by 5.638secs with Troy Bayliss second and Britain’s James Toseland managed to hang on for third.
Biaggi’s win means he is now tying in the championship with Noriyuki Haga for second place behind Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s James Toseland.
After the race James Toseland admitted it was his hardest World Superbikes race he has ever ridden whilst Troy Bayliss admitted he was struggling with the Ducati 999.
Race winner Max Biaggi said: "It's lovely coming back here and winning. It's near my home town where I was born.
"During the race I found the track very slippery."
Vallelunga World Superbikes race one results:
1 M.BIAGGI ITA Suzuki GSX-R1000 K7
2 T. BAYLISS AUS Ducati 999 F07 5.638
3 J. TOSELAND GBR Honda CBR1000RR 7.452
4 N.HAGA JPN Yamaha YZF-R1 10.079
5 M.FABRIZIO ITA Honda CBR1000RR 22.257
6 L. LANZI ITA Ducati 999 F07 25.662
7 R. LACONI FRA Kawasaki ZX-10R 34.811
8 F. NIETO ESP Kawasaki ZX-10R 38.075
9 S. NAKATOMI JPN Yamaha YZF-R1 39.07
10 V. IANNUZZO ITA Kawasaki ZX-10R 47.702
11 J. SMRZ CZE Ducati 999 F05 47.806
12 M.BORCIANI ITA Ducati 999 F06 53.488
13 K. MUGGERIDGE AUS Honda CBR1000RR 54.509
14 S. MARTIN AUS Suzuki GSX-R1000 K6 1'01.967
15 Y. TIBERIO FRA Honda CBR1000RR 1'08.291
16 L. MORELLI ITA Honda CBR1000RR 1'08.517
17 D. ELLISON GBR Ducati 999RS 1 lap