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Monday, June 13, 2011

Checa takes another double

From the WSBK Pressoffice

A sun-kissed 61,000-strong Misano crowd witnessed the 2011 phenomenon that is Carlos Checa as he took an imperious double win for his Althea Racing Ducati team at the San Marino round of the World Superbike Championship on Sunday.

This was his third double win of 2011, on a day when he had to compete in three races to win two of them. The first 24-lap Superbike took place as planned but the second race at Misano was halted and then restarted, over 14 laps, after Marco Melandri’s bike lay across the track and another rider fell off directly behind, prompting fears of an oil leak.

Behind Checa, Max Biaggi overcame a highly disturbed practice and Tissot Superpole contest on Saturday to take two second places and at least stick in the slipstream of Checa in the point standings.

It was a bad day for Melandri, even if he scored third in race one, as his inability to restart in race two means he leaves his second home race of the year with only 16 points compared to Checa’s 50 and Biaggi’s Misano haul of 40.

Kawasaki had its best single race of the year so far when Tom Sykes took the Ninja ZX-10R to fourth in race one, and he was on target for a similar finish in the originally scheduled race two, until the red flag came out.

Eugene Laverty had one good and one not so good race, running his Yamaha World Superbike Team machine to fifth, but then 13th, after he fell from a potential podium placing.

Leon Haslam had another gritty and hard-fought day of racing on his BMW Motorrad Motorsport machine, falling in race one and defending his places hard in race two, to finish fifth. He is also fifth in the championship.

Leon Camier was up and down at Misano as well, as the Aprilia Alitalia rider scored sixth in race one, but fell behind Melandri in race two. He is sixth in the rankings, one up on Michel Fabrizio, who had a mirror image reflection of Camier’s day, finishing sixth in race two, but falling to a no-score in race one.

Castrol Honda rider Jonathan Rea was unable to race at Misano, as he had a fast crash in warm-up, which caused a clean break on his right wrist, ruling him out of any further action.

Checa took the race one win, his seventh of the year, as he dominated the second half of the race, heading long time race leader Biaggi by 0.9 seconds.

“We were a little bit in trouble at the beginning," Checa said, "with a few riders between me and Max, he was strong. I was able to get second slowly, catching Max. I could overtake him, and then put some gap between me and him. At the end the result was very good.”

“We should have done two races with 10 laps each, then I would have been OK," Biaggi said. "Really it has been tough, a very hard weekend. I did my best, trying to push but Carlos had some lead and it was very difficult to get closer. That’s the best I could do, no better than second.”

Third was Melandri, who slowed in the final lap.

"I didn’t have a good start so I had to push very hard to catch those guys at the beginning," Melandri explained. "After three laps I didn’t have the right combination of rear and front tire so I couldn’t brake well. It was impossible to catch the front guys so I controlled the gap with those behind."

Behind, Sykes took his best finish of the year in fourth, after a last corner sort-out with fifth place rider Laverty.

Checa took his second win of the day, and his eighth of the year, in race two to extend his championship lead over second place race finisher Biaggi.

“It was a fantastic weekend," Checa said. "We expected to be competitive but not at this level. We took the best at this track, and the team worked so well. In the second race we had different tires, because it was hotter, and we made the right decision because the bike gave me an even better finish. After the race the chain broke while I was celebrating but it’s better than breaking in the race.”

The first running of the race was nullified when Melandri crashed and his machine lay in a dangerous position on the racetrack, leading to 14-lap race, which determined all the places and full points.

“I think I did my best, pushing and pushing," Biaggi said. "I made a mistake because the bike was locking into the corner. I saved it but I lost quite a bit of time, then I was able to follow but not come close because Carlos had more speed. Maybe we didn’t have the same equipment as before, but I hope that in the future there will be some improvements. Two times second so we must be satisfied. The points gap between me and Carlos is a lot, but we now need a bit more.”

Third place was fought over to the last possible moment, with Noriyuki Haga (Pata Aprilia) and Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike) third and fourth respectively.

“Finally I’m back on the podium and I’m very happy to be here for the first time since last year," Haga said. "Today was very tough, before my bike wasn’t competitive, but we changed some settings. Halfway through I still had problems but for sure I really wanted a better finish. Badovini was very competitive today, I think he made a mistake at the last corner so that was lucky for me.”

Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) kept his machine upright to take fifth.

Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com) took his first World Supersport win of the year in fine style, taking the lead from Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO), who would eventually finish sixth. A spirited second in the 22-lap race was former Misano race winner, Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) with Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) blasting his way to third, ahead of David Salom (Kawasaki Motocard.com) and long term second place runner, Ilario Dionisi (Honda Italia Improve FG).

In the championship standings, Parkes now leads Davies by five points, 85 to 80, with Davies’ team-mate Luca Scassa third on an unchanged 70 points. Foret has 56 points, Salom 55.

Roman rider Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) scored a popular Superstock 1000 win and a new lap record of 1 minute 38.825 seconds at Misano, with the race finally red flagged with just over three laps to go and the results counted back to lap 10. Pole man Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team Ducati) was second, 3.1 seconds behind Giugliano, and Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock) was third, 5.2 seconds back.

The inaugural race in the Two Countries Cup was won by the Russian Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport) by 1.347 seconds from Italian Andrea Agnelli (Clinica Della Moto).

Superbike Race One Results
1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 39:03.132 (155.828km/h)
2. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +0.984
3. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF-R1 +17.124
4. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R +18.652
5. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF-R1 +18.929
6. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +21.003
7. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R +22.942
8. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000RR +23.117
etc.
Pirelli BEST LAP Award: Carlos Checa (Althea Racing), 1:36.520 (Lap 5)

Superbike Race Two Results
1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 22:44.117 (156.138km/h)
2. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +1.484
3. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +7.772
4. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000RR +7.856
5. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000RR +9.714
6. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 +10.777
7. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R +10.875
8. Xaus R. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR +13.483
etc.
Pirelli BEST LAP Award: Carlos Checa (Althea Racing), 1:36.344 (Lap 3)

World Superbike Points
(after 6 of 13 rounds)
1. Checa 245
2. Biaggi 173
3. Melandri 150
4. Laverty 123
5. Haslam 106
6. Camier 101
7. Fabrizio 95
8. Rea 94
9. Smrz 83
10. Guintoli 72
etc.

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