Marco Melandri (1:57.634) won his maiden World Superbike pole to start Race 2 at Motorland Aragon during Saturday’s Superpole sessions after dominating the Friday practices at the Spanish circuit. He was joined on the front row by Max Biaggi, Leon Camier, and Carlos Checa. The Spaniard held provisional pole going into the Superpole sessions after Saturday’s final qualifying practice while Biaggi posted a blistering pace during the final free practice. Tome Sykes and Joan Lascorz started on the second row, giving some indication that the former’s pole lat weekend at Misano might not have been entirely due to the wet conditions.
They were joined by Eugene Laverty and Ayrton Badovini, as the latter outpaced both factory BMWs on the satelite bike. His teammate James Toseland was replaced by Lorenzo Lanzo after suffering a relapse in his wrist injury after the round last month in Utah. Jonathan Rea, meanwhile, was not replaced for this round after surgery Monday on his own wrist injury, sustained at Misano. Biaggi led the Sunday morning warm-up, with Melandri well down in eleventh. They would duel in Race 1.
It was still hot and sunny for the second race, as Biaggi got a great start and led into the first turn. Melandri was left to fight with Camier for second, with the Race 1 winner taking the position. Sykes was also quickly around Camier for third. Still on the first lap, Lascorz slid past Camier on the back straight. Further back, Berger and Corser crashed out together, with Corser looking to be in pain. At the end of the first lap, Biaggi led Melandri by four tenths, with Sykes, Lascorz, Camier, Fabrizio, Checa, Haslam, Badovini, and Haga the top ten.
Things soon settled down on track at the front, with Biaggi and Melandri a comfortable gap ahead of Sykes. His teammate had been passed by Checa as the Spaniard was making up lost positions from the start. Fabrizio also made his way around Lascorz moments before Checa did the same to his teammate. The next time around, Fabrizio was the next man to pass a Kawasaki, making his way around Sykes for fourth. Quickly thereafter, Smrz crashed out of last position, losing the front and sliding into the gravel.
Five laps into the twenty lap race, Biaggi had a second lead over Melandri with Checa, another two seconds back, Fabrizio, Sykes, Lascorz, Camier, Haga, Laverty, and Haslam completing the top ten. Camier appeared to have some sort of issue, holding up Haga, Laverty, and Haslam. Laverty managed to clear the Aprilia while the leading Aprilia rider suddenly had Melandri back on his rear tire. Sykes was the next rider to slide out while Xaus was again onto pit lane with some sort of issue.
Checa, coming under fire from Fabrizio, managed to gain back a bit of a gap over the Italian to attempt to hold onto a podium position after the zero points from Race 1. Further back, Badovini continued to outpace the factory bike, passing Haslam for ninth. The two would trade the position through much of L11. At the halfway point, Biaggi had four tenths on Melandri, with Checa, Fabrizio, Lascorz, Haga, Laverty, Camier, Badovini, and Haslam as the top ten. It was then that the second race looked rather like the first race.
As the laps ticked away, the two leaders had five seconds on the rest of the field. While Melandri waited for Biaggi to make a mistake, he had a bobble of his own when the front slightly folded on him, half knocking Melandri off his bike and forcing him to bounce off his knee and use the runoff area. That wobble gave Biaggi a six second gap and Checa the ability to take a look for third with four laps to go. In another duel that had lasted much of the race, Laverty cleanly took sixth from Haga with three to go. Melandri was able to maintain a gap on Checa, though he was unable to catch Biaggi for the double win on the weekend. Instead, Biaggi won his first race of the season, with Melandri and Checa completing the podium. Further back, Haslam managed to hold off Badovini for ninth in the battle of the BMWs.
World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Motorland Aragon:
|1||1||Max Biaggi||Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team||–|
|2||33||Marco Melandri||Yamaha WSBK Team||4.809|
|3||7||Carlos Checa||Althea Racing Ducati||6.944|
|4||84||Michel Fabrizio||Team Suzuki Alstare||9.001|
|5||17||Joan Lascorz||Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing||11.562|
|6||58||Eugene Laverty||Yamaha WSBK Team||14.288|
|7||41||Noriyuki Haga||PATA Racing Team Aprilia||15.138|
|8||2||Leon Camier||Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team||17.660|
|9||91||Leon Haslam||BMW Motorrad||24.184|
|10||86||Ayrton Badovini||BMW Motorrad Italia||24.676|
|11||50||Sylvain Guintoli||Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati||29.300|
|12||8||Mark Aitchison||Team Pedercini Kawasaki||33.163|
|13||44||Roberto Rolfo||Team Pedercini Kawasaki||38.080|
|14||77||Chris Vermeulen||Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing||49.042|
|15||57||Lorenzo Lanzi||BMW Motorrad Italia||53.156|
|16||111||Ruben Xaus||Castrol Honda||10 Laps|
|66||Tom Sykes||Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing||14 Laps|
|96||Jakub Smrz||Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati||16 Laps|
|11||Troy Corser||BMW Motorrad|
|121||Maxime Berger||Supersonic Racing Ducati|
Source: WSBK; Photo: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0