WSBK: Sunshine Blesses Race 1 at Miller Motorsports Park

05/30/2011 @ 12:56 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

After a rainy Saturday Superpole, the sun blessed the Miller Motorsports Park for World Superbike’s Race 1. Carlos Checa returned to the Utah track in dominant form, though problems early on in the weekend gave glimpses of last year’s mechanical snafus. With both the factory Yamahas and Liberty Ducatis looking very quick in Superpole and in the practice sessions, Checa’s dominance for this year remained to be seen, with the pre-race predictions being anyone’s guess. Having standing water still in Turn 5 or the “Black Rock Hairpin” as it is called here at Miller, and mud at virtually every run-off, the Outer Course had a few tricks still up its sleeve for this race day Monday, despite the improved weather conditions. Click past the jump for spoilers on how it all panned out.

As the green flag dropped, the Aprilia RSV4 Factory of Max Biaggi proved it had the power, as The Emperor took the holeshot going into the first turn. His lead would not last long though, as BMW’s Troy Corser was around the Italian almost immediately, and following in-tow was the PATA Aprilia of Noriyuki Haga, who had a great start from the third row.

The first few laps would prove to be eventful for virtually all the riders, as not only was there the typical shuffle in positions, but multiple big crashes ensued. The first mud children were Max Biaggi and Jonathan Rea, as the Alitalia Aprilia got ensnared with the Castrol Honda, as Rea took Biaggi out of commission. With both riders unscathed from the crash, Rea gave Biaggi an earful before the two racers went back to their pits to get ready for Race 2.

The second big incident happened in the fourth lap, as Ruben Xaus slid underneath Michel Fabrizio as the pair battled for the 12th position. Hit hard, Fabrizio was down in the mud snf on his back for more than a moment, which caused Xaus to come running over to the Italian rider, landing on his knees. Fabrizio would later get up and walk away from the crash, but will be feeling it tomorrow to be certain.

As the first five laps unfolded, it was a Corser & Haga show up front, as the two veterans battled for position, and opened a gap over the trailing Guintoli. With the lead group consisting of Corser, Haga, Guintoli, Checa, and Camier, Leon Camier began losing touch with the pack by the third lap, and was relegated to a distant fifth, though made the ground up to be third by the ninth lap (Camier would go on to have another moment, pushed farther back to seventh, finishing fourth).

With Checa biding his time, the Spaniard slowly moved through the ranks of riders, coming from fourth to first by the sixth lap. Once clear, the Althea Ducati rider never looked back and performed his patent-pending Checa Checkout maneuver.

The rest of the race focused on the battle for second, which saw two more Ducatis vying for podium position. Coming from third, Jakob Smrz battled with Sylvain Guintoli from the Effenbet-Liberty Racing squad for several laps, before the Czech rider finally got past his French teammate on Lap 18. Smrz would hold the position to the finish, beating his teammate by just over a second at the checkered flag. Though disappointing for Guintoli in some respects, the result made a 1-2-3 podium for Ducati, showing that the Italian bikes are appreciative of Miller’s 3-mile road course layout.

Leon Camier will perhaps not be happy about his fourth place finish, but the Aprilia rider has shown to be very fast here in Utah, and could be a podium contender in Race 2. Another strong showing was Eugene Laverty who finished Race 1 in the fifth position.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Miller Motorsports Park, USA:

17Carlos ChecaAlthea Ducati
296Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati2.766
350Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati4.093
42Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing8.885
558Eugene LavertyYamaha World Superbike Team15.718
666Tom SykesPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing20.477
786Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia22.170
891Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad22.267
941Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia24.087
1033Marco MelandriYamaha World Superbike Team27.150
11121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati29.422
1212Josh WatersYoshimura Suzuki33.428
1311Troy CorserBMW Motorrad36.573
1417Joan LascorzPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1’05.369
1552James ToselandBMW Motorrad Italia1’14.382
168Mark AitchisonTeam Pedercini Kawasaki1’14.736
1744Roberto RolfoTeam Pedercini Kawasaki2 Laps
Not Classified
RET84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare18 Laps
RET111Ruben XausCastrol Honda18 Laps
RET4Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda
RET1Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing

Source: WorldSBK; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved