Donington Park remained cold for the second race of the second round of the World Superbike Championship, though there was plenty of drama both on and off the track to keep things heated up. Race 1 featured a thrilling charge through the field by one protagonist, while Superpole had drama all its own. Though Checa won pole convincingly for the second time in a row this season, it was Max Biaggi who garnered the most attention after Saturday’s qualifying. Reigning champion Max Biaggi had some traffic issues during Superpole, first holding up, and then being held up by rival and WSBK rookie Marco Melandri.
Neither James Toseland nor Chris Vermeulen participated in either race. Toseland was home recovering from a fractured wrist, injured in a testing crash last week, while Vermeulen was at Donington and participated in Fridays practice sessions, only to sit out qualifying and the races with his knee still recovering from a 2010 crash and surgery.
With Race 2 underway at a revised Donington Park, Haslam again got a great start, with Haga, Camier, Rea, and Melandri the top five into the first turn. By the end of that lap, riders had shaken out a bit, though Haslam still led, with Checa having moved up to second and Hagga down to fourth. Checa made his move early, taking the lead from Haslam on L3 and never looking back. Biaggi, who never made any ground after jumping the start, was assessed a ride-through penalty, and later was black flagged when he did not come into the pits. Meanwhile, Melandri had pushed his way up to fourth while Camier went after Haslam and his second position. The two fought until Melandri made an appearance.
The Race 1 winner diced with both, passing Camier, then Haslam, then Camier passed Haslam as well. With sixteen laps left, Melandri was just over two seconds behind Checa. By this time, Haga had dropped back to last, after an off-track excursion cost him many positions. Haslam was also sliding backward in the field, also because of a trip through the grass.
Up at the front, Melandri simply could not catch Checa, despite plenty of time to do so. With ten laps to go, Checa, Melandri, Camier, Lascorz, and Rea were the top five. Camier was trying hard to get around Melandri for a return to second position, but the Yamaha’s speed on the straight held him off. At the same time, the other Leon had worked his way up to sixth, and was fighting with Rea over fifth. Haslam made the pass and made it stick with a few to go, as did Camier on Melandri.
Checa still had a comfortable margin over Camier, Melandri, Lascorz, and Haslam as the top five with five laps to go. Soon thereafter, Melandri was back under Camier, where he would remain for the final four laps. Once the Italian passed that last time, Camier drifted back a bit on his own comfortable margin, as Lascorz was coming under attack from Haslam, and the Brit made the pass for fourth stick with one lap to go. There were no final moment skirmishes for position, as Checa cruised to his third victory in four races.
World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Donington Park:
|1||7||Carlos Checa||Althea Ducati||-|
|2||33||Marco Melandri||Yamaha WSBK Team||3.397|
|3||2||Leon Camier||Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team||5.902|
|4||91||Leon Haslam||BMW Motorrad Motorsport||13.842|
|5||17||Joan Lascorz||Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki||14.253|
|6||4||Jonathan Rea||Castrol Honda||19.413|
|7||84||Michel Fabrizio||Alstare Suzuki||20.278|
|8||96||Jakub Smrz||Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati||21.160|
|9||86||Ayrton Badovini||BMW Motorrad Italia||24.298|
|10||111||Ruben Xaus||Castrol Honda||24.907|
|11||50||Sylvain Guintoli||Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati||32.440|
|12||66||Tom Sykes||Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki||32.679|
|13||11||Troy Corser||BMW Motorrad Motorsport||34.070|
|14||58||Eugene Laverty||Yamaha WSBK Team||36.418|
|15||44||Roberto Rolfo||Team Pedercini Kawasaki||44.037|
|16||8||Mark Aitchison||Team Pedercini Kawasaki||52.412|
|17||41||Noriyuki Haga||PATA Racing Team Aprilia||56.634|
|121||Maxime Berger||Supersonic Racing Ducati||22 Laps|
|DQ||1||Max Biaggi||Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team|