News 5 Sep 2011

Checa and Sykes split World Superbike wins at Nurburgring

Checa extends lead as Sykes races to Kawasaki's first win with the all-new ZX-10R.

Tom Sykes took Kawasaki's first World Superbike win of the year in a wet race two.

Tom Sykes took Kawasaki's first World Superbike win of the year in a wet race two.

World championship leader Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) once again showed the reasons why he is out front in the points standings with three rounds to run, after posting an assured win in race one and then holding 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, and on a new machine in 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.

Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) had a good comeback weekend in many ways, topped of by fourth in race two, but his fellow Briton James Toseland (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK) fell out of contention in race two and suffered a bruised right elbow and a cut on his left elbow.

Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) suffered with a painful right hand after a collision in race one, and finished 16th in the opener, and a retiree in the second. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team). Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) had a fifth and a ninth in BMW’s home races.

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 teammate Laverty. Haslam had been fifth early on then ran off track, climbing back from 14th place at one stage to re-take fifth.

Guintoli was a confident top six finisher, some seven seconds ahead of top Kawasaki man Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) who recovered from a bad start to take Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) over the line.

“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,” Checa said.

“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 tyres but the difference was good enough for me to win.”

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!” Sykes said. “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!”

In World Supersport, Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO) had to summon all his braking ability on the final few laps to prevent the rejuvenated James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) from passing him around the long Nürburgring circuit.

Davies held him off to win by only 0.091 seconds, with third placed Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) a lonely 3.7 seconds from the winner. Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO) went into the top four after a tough battle at times with fifth placed Massimo Roccoli (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) and sixth place Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda).

Broc Parkes (Provec Kawasaki) and David Salom (Provec Kawasaki) held off Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), with Balazs Nemeth (Hungary Team Toth Honda) going 10th.

In the single make European Junior Cup, with riders all on identical Kawasaki Ninja 250R machines, Australian Matt Davies once more showed his class-leading ability to win from his great rival Tom Busch and third placed Kyran De Lange.

Davies now takes a ten point advantage over Busch into the final race at Magny-Cours.