WSBK: Vets & Rookies Mix It Up for Race 2 at Phillip Island

02/26/2011 @ 9:46 pm, by Victoria Reid1 COMMENT

Sunday dawned a damp Phillip Island for the opening round of World Superbike racing, after a clear week of testing and practices which were all dominated by Carlos Checa. The Spaniard won pole on Saturday, though reigning champion Max Biaggi’s improvement through the weekend brought his qualifying time to within .013s of Checa’s. Sylvain Guintoli and Leon Haslam were next to the veterans on the front row.

Both were also fast in the damp morning warm-up, though Australian Troy Corser was fastest in the changed conditions, with Checa was tenth fastest. It was dry and sunny by race time rolled around for Race 1, though the sky had turned grey for Sunday’s second race. To see how the riders adapted to the changed weather for Race 2, continue reading after the jump.

Neither Chris Vermeulen nor Sylvain Guintoli started Race 2, as both were sidelined by injuries. Vermeulen missed the entire weekend, as well as testing earlier in the week, as the knee he injured in Race 2 at Phillip Island in 2010 continues to recover, while Guintoli was injured in a Race 1 crash.

Haslam got a great start, leading into the first turn, and giving Checa a fight before the Spaniard disposed of him for good on his way to winning a double at Phillip Island. Biaggi got off the line slowly, dropping down to fifth on the first lap and seventh on the second. Though he finished second, the Champion had to fight off former rival and experienced rookie Marco Melandri to do so. Melandri finished third, with Rea and Haslam completing the top five.

Early in the race, Haslam held up teammate Corser, Biaggi, Melandri and others while in second place. Melandri won the four-wide scrum at Doohan to win second, and get around Haslam on lap six, though by that time Checa was over three seconds ahead. There, Biaggi and Melandri would begin their fight, continuing through the race. Corser looked to be part of their battle, but ran down the escape road at the Honda corner and dropped back to eleventh. Laverty had a similar issue just after passing Haslam for fourth, subsequently dropping to eighteenth.

At the halfway point, Checa led Biaggi, Melandri, Haga, and Haslam as the top five, and the fight between Biaggi and Melandri was just beginning to heat up. They were back and forth, with Melandri diving under and going around the outside of Biaggi, while the more powerful Aprilia continued to pass the Yamaha on the straights. In the end Checa won, and Biaggi managed to keep the small gap he gained in the final couple of laps and the charging Melandri behind.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Phillip Island:

17Carlso ChecaAlthea Racing
21Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1.188
333Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team1.406
44Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda10.563
591Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad Motorsport10.885
62Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team16.914
741Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia17.558
884Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare17.679
966Tom SykesPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing18.07
10111Ruben XausCastrol Honda19.053
1196Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Racing (Ducati)19.06
1244Roberto RolfoTeam Pedercini Kawasaki23.771
1312Josh WatersYoshimura Suzuki23.956
1452James ToselandBMW Motorrad Italia SBK28.713
1558Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team32.673
168Mark AitchisonTeam Pedercini Kawasaki33.226
1767Bryan StaringTeam Pedercini Kawasaki42.598
18121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Team (Ducati)51.819
1911Troy CorserBMW Motorrad Motorsport55.738
Not Classified
13Joan LascorzPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing8 Laps
20Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia SBK

Source: WorldSBK; Photo: Yamaha-Racing

  • pete

    title should read: ex-motogp vets claim phillip island race 2 podium hostage :D