Checa and Rea win with Pirelli in Imola WSBK
Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) came within three points of winning the Superbike World Championship outright at Imola after posting a third place in race one and his 12th victory of the year in race two. He was only stopped in his title tracks by the eighth and sixth places put in by Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) who is now 97 points behind Checa with only two rounds left to go. Had Melandri left 100 points or more behind the Spaniard, Checa would have been champion today.
A superb day of racing saw Jonathan Rea win for Castrol Honda in race one, from Noriyuki Haga (Pata Aprilia) who, in the absence of former championship challenger Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) was the top Aprilia rider on show, finally posting two second places. Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) also scored a podium finish today, despite running off the circuit in race two.
A wide range of machines filled the top places at Imola, with Honda, Ducati, Aprilia, Kawasaki and BMW machines all taking a turn inside the top five. Behind those dizzy heights, and in front of a 78,000 strong impassioned crowd, Effenbert-Liberty Ducati riders Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz were sixth and seventh respectively in race one, and Guintoli seventh in race two.
Home rider Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) had a miserable time and crashed in race one, retiring in the second 21-lap contest. Tom Sykes was on course for two top four places until his Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike machine stopped with braking issues in race two. He was only just beaten to the podium by Checa in race one. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) was top BMW finisher today, fifth in race two.
“Throughout the entire weekend at Autodromo of Imola we saw excellent climate conditions, and as such, relatively high temperatures,” said Giorgio Barbier, Racing Director, Pirelli Moto. “Consistent with the current development model in Supersport, Pirelli was prepared with 3 front and 3 rear solutions for this class. For this round of SBK we have prepared for a total 4 front and 4 rear solutions as a final measure of consolidating solutions currently being developed for the upcoming 2012 Diablo racing tire range. Considering the recent asphalting of this historic Italian circuit, a totally new SC2 front tire solution was available for the race at Imola offering both better grip and a more stabile feeling to the rider. The tire’s compound is slightly harder than mid-soft solution “B”, and was already proven successful when it was selected by 14 riders in Race 1 and Race 2. As for the rear, the current championship leader Checa (Ducati) opted for the harder “D” solution for Race 1 and arrived third place overall. In Race 2, Checa and Melandri (Yamaha) both moved to the softer “B” solution rear, which in Race 1 had already been chosen by most riders. With this slight change, Checa managed to improve his race performance, setting the Best Lap on the 13th lap shortly before taking the lead and the victory, increasing his points lead towards the 2011 world title. With these new solutions for Imola, fastest lap times dropped about 1 second as compared to last year in the Superstock 600, Superstock 1000 and Superbike classes. ”
Rea won his second race of the year with a front-running display that needed to be strong in the final laps to hold off Haga. Behind the leading two, by some nine seconds, Checa scored an important podium but had to wait until the final lap to get the better of the impressive Sykes. Championship hopeful Marco Melandri was only eighth, after getting involved in several fights in the middle order.
“It’s a great day for me, especially after my race at Imola here last year and my injuries, so all credit to everyone for getting me back to the top step,” said Race 1 winner Rea. “Nori kept me on it for the whole race, I had to dig so deep at the end to try and get that win, but I’m so happy, we’re a very strong team.”
Results: 1. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 38'03.396 (163,424 kph); 2. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 0.111; 3. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 9.449; 4. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 9.792; 5. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 14.699; 6. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 16.820; 7. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 24.227; 8. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 24.935; 9. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 25.224; 10. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 25.487; etc.
Checa won the second dramatic race of the Imola weekend but he was unable to clinch the championship at Ducati’s home circuit. Rea was well on course for his second race win before his machine stopped, due to a broken battery connection, while leading. Haga took his second runner-up place of the day, while Camier earned a podium in another classic race at this classic track. Eugene Laverty went fourth to keep his challenge on for a final third place finish.
“It was a great weekend, mathematically we don’t have the title but it’s very close,” said Checa. “We feel it already, but especially we’re so enthusiastic for today’s win. It was a shame for Johnny, I think he deserved to win so we were a bit lucky, but this year has been going so good and to win here in Imola for us has been so good”
Results: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 38'04.538 (163,342 kph); 2. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 4.631; 3. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 15.159; 4. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 17.195; 5. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 17.388; 6. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 18.533; 7. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 19.615; 8. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 20.063; 9. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 24.194; 10. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 28.485; etc.
Points (after 11 of 13 rounds): 1. Checa 417; 2. Melandri 320; 3. Biaggi 281; 4. Laverty 256; 5. Haslam 187; 6. Camier 171; 7: Guintoli 158; 8. Haga 155; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 441; 2. Aprilia 376; 3. Yamaha 375; 4. BMW 232; 5. Kawasaki 192; 6. Honda 162; 7. Suzuki 158.
Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO) had the title within his grasp as he led the WSS race by over ten seconds, but when his machine broke down in spectacular fashion he left the Imola circuit with a greatly reduced championship advantage. The race winner was Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) who was locked in a midfield battle in the early laps, only to break free and overhaul an impressive list of riders, including eventual fellow podium men, Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) and Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com).
Results: 1. Foret F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 35'56.214 (156,581 kph); 2. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 0.166; 3. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2.499; 4. Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 3.833; 5. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 6.325; 6. Ellison J. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 21.872; 7. Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 25.826; 8. Praia M. (POR) Honda CBR600RR 27.553; etc.
Points (after 10 of 12 rounds): 1. Davies 171; 2. Foret 136; 3. Salom 123; 4. Parkes 120; 5. Lowes 109; 6. Scassa 96; 7. Ellison 72; 8. Marino 71; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Yamaha 201; 2. Honda 194; 3. Kawasaki 161; 4. Triumph 30.