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Monday, June 20, 2011

Melandri and Biaggi trade wins

From the WSBK Pressoffice

A hot afternoon of racing in every way saw Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) and Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) trade wins and second place finishes at Motorland Aragon on Sunday to squeeze World Superbike Championship title leader Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) in the overall points standings.

The Spanish rider fell in race one at his home track and then took a well-deserved podium place, third, in race two. Checa, desperate to make amends for sliding off as he chased the leading duo in race one, had to work hard to keep Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) behind him for much of the race and Checa's 16 points for third place mean that Biaggi is still 43 behind and Melandri is 66 adrift as the season clicked past its mid-point.

Spanish riders had some good and the occasional not so good results all round, with Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) posting seventh in race one then finishing an season best equalling fifth in race two.

Irish rider Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) put in a fourth and a sixth place, to remain fourth overall.

WSB legend Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia) took part in his 300th race and left with strong results of sixth and seventh to his credit.

Tom Sykes equalled fellow Kawasaki rider Lascorz' prowess with fifth in race one, but a fall in race two spoiled an otherwise consistent and competitive weekend, as the whole Kawasaki effort took another step up with its new bike.

Once more it was a tough weekend for the BMW riders, this time from both official and satellite teams, with Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) scoring two ninth places and Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) was eighth and 10th. The worst experience of all came for the luckless Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) as an entirely accidental collision between him and Maxime Berger caused Corser's left radius and ulna to fracture, putting him out of action in race two. He had been 10th in race one.

In race one, Melandri took his second win of the year after leading when it really counted as his rival Biaggi made a small slip a few laps from the end. The margin of victory was 1.5 seconds.

"It's been an awesome race for me," Melandri said. "Max was strong and consistent at the start and it was difficult to follow him. But in the end it was going to be tough for me to pass him so thanks to him that he made a mistake! Otherwise it would have been difficult. The team has been working very hard and I was very confident all weekend."

"I cannot say I am super-happy for the result but I had a good rhythm and just at the end the bike was a little more difficult to ride," Biaggi admitted. "We need to work more on the bike to improve it towards the end of the race, and hopefully we can do that for race two."

Camier was a strong finisher in third, and Laverty took fourth place in a close fight with Sykes. Haga and Lascorz followed close behind those two.

"I was struggling a bit at the beginning to get into the rhythm, but I'm happy with the result and happy for Aprilia, everyone's worked hard this weekend," Camier said. "It'll now make me try and go better at the beginning of the next race really."

Checa fell while in a potential podium position, on lap eight. He had just set the fastest lap of the race and was pushing on to try and stay with the leading riders.

Biaggi took his long awaited first win of the 2011 season after an immaculate display of front running in race two, heading Melandri by 4.809 seconds, after he ran off track at one point, with a few laps to go.

"I'm very happy of course, this is my first win of 2011," Biaggi said. "I didn't get one before because the other guys did a better job than me. This win came after a very strong race, I had a good pace all the way to the end, so the changes we made to the bike's suspension made it work better than race one. We should have done it before for race one but I'm happy with today's results."

Biaggi's victory made him the fifth different rider, from the fourth different manufacturer, to win at least one race in 2011.

"The conditions were a little bit different to race one and Max had a bit better pace," Melandri admitted. "I was braking so hard to recover what we lost in acceleration, so I lost the front, the tire locked and I lost the position on the bike and went off. I'm disappointed, it wasn't easy to try and pass like in race one, but I'm happy anyway."

Checa completed a damage limitation exercise after his fall in race one, scoring third in the second 20-lap contest, from the impressive Fabrizio.

"What a weekend with a crash in race one and struggling to catch Marco and Max in race two, but it was impossible," Checa explained. "After reaching third I felt it was the best situation to stay in third. Honestly, it was quite acceptable and I am quite satisfied for race two, it was a shame because it was my home race, we wanted to be at the top but here was not the place."

Lascorz was a 'hometown' top five finisher, from Laverty and Haga.

Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO) won his third World Supersport race of the year and took the championship lead after a dramatic race at Motorland. Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) was a close second but was unable to get into the slipstream of Davies to mount a last lap pass.

David Salom (Kawasaki and Massimo Roccoli (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) finished third and fourth respectively, in a race where two top contenders fell out of leading positions. Poleman Broc Parkes (Kawasaki and Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO) no scored after separate crashes near the end.

Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) took his third win in the 1000cc Superstock category this year but he had to work hard out front for it. He was pushed in the final sector of the 12-lap race by second place rider Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock), who tried on the final two laps to pass the Roman rider. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team) went third, winning a sprint to the line from Niccolò Canepa (Lazio MotorSport). The top four were well ahead of fifth place man, Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock).

Motorland Aragon also hosted the third round of the European Junior Cup, which saw a second successive win for Matt Davies. The Australian took the flag ahead of Germany's Tom Busch and Spain's Ruben Fenoll. Busch leads the table with seven points advantage over Davies.

Superbike Race One Results
1. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF-R1 40:01.968 (160.189km/h)
2. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +1.572
3. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +2.432
4. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF-R1 +10.799
5. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R +10.847
6. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +11.931
7. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R +12.591
8. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000RR +16.954
9. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000RR +24.205
10. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000RR +24.694
Pirelli BEST LAP Award: Carlos Checa (Althea Racing), 1:58.862 (Lap 7)

Superbike Race Two Results
1. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 40:04.407 (160.026km/h)
2. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF-R1 +4.809
3. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R +6.944
4. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 +9.001
5. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R +11.562
6. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF-R1 +14.288
7. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +15.138
8. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +17.660
9. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000RR +24.184
10. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000RR +24.676
Pirelli BEST LAP Award: Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike), 1:59.159 (Lap 3)

Superbike Points
(after 7 of 13 rounds)
1. Checa 261
2. Biaggi 218
3. Melandri 195
4. Laverty 146
5. Camier 125
6. Haslam 120
7. Fabrizio 108
8. Rea 94


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