Checa and Sykes trade wins in Germany
Checa posted an assured win in race one and then held his nerve in atrociously wet conditions in race two to score points for eighth place – all on a day when his main championship rival was ruled out.
A new rider also took his place at the top table of WSBK race-winning riders today on a new machine - the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R. Tom Sykes won for the Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike squad in a race in which only 13 riders finished in treacherous track conditions. Sykes is the sixth individual race winner of the 2011 season so far, with three rounds and six races left to run.
Title challenging Aprilia Alitalia rider Max Biaggi missed out on raceday altogether after the injury to his left foot he picked up on Friday proved too difficult to overcome, but the new second ranked rider, Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) showed real fighting qualities in dry and wet conditions, scoring second in race one and splashing his way to sixth in the second race, which was shortened because of the rains.
A great start to the day for Noriyuki Haga (Pata Aprilia) saw him third ahead of the factory Yamaha of Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) in race one, but then fall from a winning position in race two, caught out by an increase in the intensity of the rain. An excellent day for the privateers saw not one but two Effenbert Liberty Racing Team Ducati riders on the race two podium when Sylvain Guintoli was second and Jakub Smrz third.
“After the summer break and now facing the last quarter of the season, Pirelli has begun confirming the current developments in preparation for the 2012 production range of Diablo racing tires,” said Giorgio Barbier, Pirelli Moto’s Racing Director. “For the race at Nürburgring, Pirelli prepared 3 fronts and 4 rear Superbike solutions, along with 3 fronts and 3 rears for Supersport. Superpole has already left its mark, having seen Checa (Ducati) register a new circuit lap record of 1’54.144 on Diablo Superpole tires, edging out Biaggi’s (Aprilia) time of last year. Mild conditions in SBK Race 1 put the front row on a common solution, with race winner Checa (Ducati), Melandri (Yamaha) and Laverty (Yamaha) mounting the new mid-soft ‘B’ front and new SC1 or ‘C’ rear. Haga (Aprilia) instead opted for the softer ‘A’ front and ‘A’ or SC0 rear and captured an impressive 2nd place finish. SBK Race 2 was declared a wet race, putting into play the proven SCR1 Diablo Rain tires, but after completing 12 laps the race was red flagged under a downpour and Sykes (Kawasaki) was declared the winner, the first in his career and first for the brand in 5 years. In the WSS race, several riders consistently lapped in the 2’00s nearly the entire race on the new ‘B’ or SC1 front and the ‘A’ or new Diablo Supercorsa SC0 rear, seeing strong performances from Ellison (Honda) on a privateer bike who set a Pirelli Best Lap of 1'59.79 and took his first career podium in the class.”
Checa posted a superb opening win, holding off early aggression from eventual podium man Haga before gapping all his pursuers in clinical style. Second was Melandri, Haga was third and then - in an eventually lonely fourth - Melandri's team-mate Laverty.
“It was a special race for many reasons, and I’d like to dedicate the win to Claudio Castiglioni on behalf of myself, the team and Ducati because this person was a part of this world and thanks to him we are racing with these bikes here,” said Checa. “As for me it was a very good race, and it’s one step in front for the championship. I know that I had to make a gap in the early laps, because I was suffering a little on the straight. At the end I was struggling a little with the tires but the difference was good enough for me to win.”
Results: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 38'59.779 (158,077 kph); 2. Melandri M. (ITA)Yamaha YZF R1 1.855; 3. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2.322; 4. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 7.789; 5. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 9.727; 6. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 10.113; 7. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 17.226; 8. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 17.228; 9. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 18.166; 10. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 19.457; etc.
Sykes secured Kawasaki's first win since 2006, and his own first ever WSBK race victory, when he headed up a shortened 13-lap race at the Nürburgring. Haga had led for virtually the whole race, which was held in wet conditions that ranged from merely wet to completely soaking. When he fell Sykes took the lead and when the rains re-doubled in intensity race direction called the contest, with Sykes ahead of Guintoli and Smrz. Fourth was Rea, who despite a high-speed crash remounted to score good points ahead of fifth placed Laverty and his team-mate Melandri.
“The first win feels absolutely fantastic, the conditions today were unbelievable,” exclaimed Sykes. “It was good to see the red flag and even better to see it in first position. The bike had a fantastic setting today in the wet from the Paul Bird Motorsport team; the feel was fantastic as well. Fortunately the rains came and I managed to make a gap to Sylvain, it’s great to be back especially after the biggest crash of my career at Silverstone just one month ago!”
Results: 1. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 29'49.337 (134,358 kph); 2. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 4.063; 3. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 22.759; 4. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 28.497; 5. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 38.374; 6. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 45.326; 7. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 47.030; 8. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R; 50.032; 9. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 53.586; 10. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 55.261; etc.
Points (after 10 of 13 rounds): 1. Checa 376; 2. Melandri 302; 3. Biaggi 281; 4. Laverty 232; 5. Haslam 176; 6. Camier 154; 7: Fabrizio 141; 8. Guintoli 139; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 400; 2. Yamaha 351; 3. Aprilia 336; 4. BMW 214; 5. Kawasaki 171; 6. Suzuki 158; 7. Honda. 132.