Marco Melandri managed to secure his second win this season in race one at Aragon in Spain.
The Yamaha World Superbike rider managed a strong start to lead briefly, before being passed by Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing). Melandri kept pace with Biaggi who led the majority of the race until he faltered under pressure, running wide whilst braking at the end of lap fifteen. Melandri seized the opportunity to pass Biaggi and built a gap in the final laps to take the win.
Biaggi’s team mate Leon Camier rode consistently quickly, battling with Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) for third place. Checa began pushing harder, setting the fastest lap and closing the gap on Biaggi and Melandri, before crashing out on lap eight, leaving room for Camier to take third.
The fight for fourth place was hotly contested with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) passing Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia) mid-race, before Haga reclaimed fourth going into turn one on lap fourteen. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) upped his pace to relegate Sykes to sixth and then passed Haga to claim fourth. Sykes doggedly battled with Haga, finally taking fifth in the penultimate lap. Heading towards the finish line, Sykes caught Laverty but was unable to pass the Irishman.
Another round, another two race wins for the ultra-consistent – and magnificently fast – Carlos Checa, the Spaniard showing his steely determination even when faced with the challenges of reigning World Superbike Champion Max Biaggi.
If Biaggi cannot beat Checa from a leading position on a circuit he was utterly dominant at twelve months ago, it would suggest the Spaniard is going to be incredibly difficult to overcome during the second-half of the season.
Still, Biaggi was in almost as good a form as Checa at Misano as the only other rider to get close to his rival on raw pace, the pair commanding a fairly substantial advantage over their rivals.
Championship leader Carlos Checa has won the second superbike race at Assen to continue his excellent start to the 2011 WSB season.
The Spaniard led for the majority of the race after choosing a softer compound tyre for the second race. Second place finisher Max Biaggi, on hard compound tyres, stayed with Checa for the entirety of the race and started to close the gap in the latter stages of the race as Checa’s softer tyres became more worn.
With three laps to go Biaggi passed Checa, and it looked as if he was on course for his first win of 2011, with Checa’s Ducati struggling for grip.
Checa had other ideas though, and passed Biaggi on the brakes into the final chicane on the penutimate lap, forcing the Italian to sit up and settle for second.
Castrol Honda rider Jonathan Rea has continued his good from at the Assen circuit with a victory in the first race of the day.
It looked as though Carlos Checa would dominate the race from the front after getting a good start and pulling away slightly from the rest of the field.
But Jonathan Rea and Max Biaggi both blasted passed the championship leader before stretching out a lead on the chasing pack. Carlos Checa made sure to keep his 100% podium record of 2011 with third place.
Despite a couple of passes from Biaggi, Rea was able to re-take the lead and hold off Max Biaggi to the flag to record his first win of the 2011 season.
It looked as though it would be another great race for the Brits – early in the race Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes were both batting for podium positions, but both riders faded around half way through. (more…)
Carlos Checa extended his championship lead with a dominating victory in the second race at Donington Park.
The Spaniard opted to go out on the softer compound tyre for race 2 and the decision to do so payed great dividends as the Ducati rider pulled away from pack once he hit the front
Brit Leon Haslam again got to Redgate corner first, but was unable to stop Checa’s charge to the front as he overtook the BMW rider at the Melbourne loop on the third lap.
Haslam was unable to respond and Checa slowly pulled away from the chasing pack to eventually finish 3.3 seconds ahead of Marco Melandri in second. Melandri and Camier both passed Haslam on lap seven, before the BMW rider had an off-track excursion on lap eight, rejoining the race in eighth. Haslam fiished in fourth.
Melandri got a better start this time, placing fourth after the first few laps before setting his sights on Haslam and Leon Camier in second and third.
Melandri, who made the switch from MotoGP at the end of last season, was in ninth position after the first lap and had to battle past the likes of Max Biaggi (The reigning World Superbike Champion) and Leon Haslem to eventually reach second position.
Jakub Smrz at that time was still 2.6 seconds ahead of Melandri, but the Italian closed the gap within the next five laps to perform a brilliant overtaking maneuver on the Czech rider in the revamped Foggy Esse’s and eased his way home with a 2.4 second gap.
Carlos Checa, who was mid pack in the early stages of the race, managed to finish third, after passing Haslam at the Melbourne Loop on the last lap.
Carlos Checa rounded off a perfect weekend at Phillip Island with victory in both races to take home a maximum of 50 points and the World championship lead.
After dominating during practise and qualifying it was hardly a surprise to see Carlos Checa continue in the same vein in both races of the opening round of the 2011 World Superbike season at Phillip Island in Australia.
What might have been surprising is that despite closing the gap on the Althea Ducati during qualifying, none of the other teams could get close to the Spaniard on the track, leaving Checa to romp away and build up a significant lead in both races.
2010 World Superbike Champion Max Biaggi was best of the rest, securing the second podium place in both races while most of the action on the track was taking place in the jostle for the final podium spot, with Leon Haslam and Marco Melandri claiming the place respectively over the two races.