News 26 Sep 2011

Imola win sets Checa up for maiden World Superbike Championship

Jonathan Rea and Checa split wins, but King Carlos will have to wait a week to be crowned.

Spain's Carlos Checa came within a few points of being world champion with a race two win at Imola on Sunday.

Spain's Carlos Checa came within a few points of being world champion with a race two win at Imola on Sunday.

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 Carlos with only two rounds left to go. Had Melandri left 100 points or more behind the Spaniard, Carlos would have been champion today.

Checa won the second dramatic race of the Imola weekend but he was unable to clinch the championship at Ducati’s home circuit.

“It was a great weekend, mathematically we don’t have the title but it’s very close,” Checa said. “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”

Jonathan Rea won the opening race for Castrol Honda and was well on course for his second race win before his machine stopped, due to a broken battery connection, while leading.

A superb day of entertainment saw 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) was also a podium man 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.

Pedercini Kawasaki’s Mark Aitchison was top performing Australian with 11-9 results in yet another exceptional performance, while BMW’s Troy Corser finished 12th in race one before retiring in the second outing.

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

Fourth was Foret’s team-mate Florian Marino, and fifth another early struggler who showed great pace late on, David Salom (Kawasaki The top five were covered by only six seconds, the top four by just under four seconds.

In Superstock 1000, a thrilling fight for much of the race between Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Ducati) and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) eventually saw Petrucci almost crash but then collect his thoughts well enough to run out the winner by two clear seconds. Australian Bryan Staring was 12th, while countryman Beau Beaton was 18th.

Superstock 600 was decided on the final lap, when Riccardo Russo (Trasimeno Yamaha) made a lunge on Joshua Day (Kawasaki Revolution Racedays) but ran wide exiting the Acque Minerali corner, and Day was left to hold his pace and nerve and win his second race of the season.

Russo was second across the line and Australian Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Team) third to maintain his series lead by 15 points.

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