The weather gods were appeased this Memorial Day weekend, as not a single drop of water rained down from the heavens on the World Superbike Race 1 and Race 2 that were being held at Miller Motorsports Park. This statement is of course only true if you’re not watching WSBK according to Oregon Trail rules, as riders still had to ford the river at the “Black Rock Hairpin” in Turn 5 of the Outer Course. While no oxen were lost in the attempt to cross the water feature, a bull was on the loose in the form of Carlos Checa. Would 2011 be redemption or disappointment for the Spaniard? Find out after the jump.
Not one to bother waiting, Carlos Checa took the holeshot down the front straightaway of Miller Motorsports Park, taking the lead into Turn 1, and never looked back. Busting a commanding lead over the World Superbike field, the Althea Ducati racer won Race 2 in Utah with a comfortable 7+ second margin. Though a poignant moment for Checa, it was joined by fairly dull racing, as the grid spread fairly evenly over the pace of the race.
Trailing Checa was Leon Camier, Eugene Laverty, Marco Melandri, and Noriyuki Haga. Both Camier and Laverty pulled large gaps over their nearest competitors, and only Max Biaggi in the second lap would get past either rider. The battle for fourth though was quite close in the early laps, and in Lap 2 Biaggi would find his way around Haga and Melandri, later passing Laverty in Lap 3, though unable to touch his teammate who rode to a comfortable second place podium step.
Lap 3 woke up the paddock, as both Ruben Xaus and Troy Corser went down in the same turn at the same time. Corser would retire for the day, while Xaus remounted his Castrol Honda and finished the day 18th. Noriyuki Haga also hit the tarmac in Lap 3, as the Japanese rider seemingly decided to get an early jump on packing his bags for his trip out of Utah. Chalk that one up to an unforced error, as PATA will race for better results next race weekend.
The next several laps saw little action in position, though Melandri, Guintoli, and Fabrizio battled for ownership rights to the fifth place position. By Lap 10 the battle was in full-swing, and by Lap 11 Michel Fabrizio was through on both Guintoli and Melandri. Fabrizio would continue to be the one of the fastest riders on the track up until the race’s conclusion, often swapping that title with race leader Carlos Checa.
The next big melee was between Jonathan Rea, Ayrton Badovini, and Tom Sykes, as the trio mixed it up over several turns in their battle for 9th position. Badovini would be the victor in that battle, finishing ninth for the day, followed by Sykes and Rea, respectively.
Cruising to a seven second victory, Carlos Checa is now 61 Championship points ahead of Marco Melandri, who now holds only a solitary point over current World Champion Max Biaggi. World Superbike goes back to Europe on June 12th, where the series will be racing at Misano.
World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Miller Motorsports Park, USA:
|1||7||Carlos Checa||Althea Ducati||–|
|2||2||Leon Camier||Aprilia Alitalia Racing||7.194|
|3||1||Max Biaggi||Aprilia Alitalia Racing||8.734|
|4||58||Eugene Laverty||Yamaha World Superbike Team||14.214|
|5||84||Michel Fabrizio||Team Suzuki Alstare||14.750|
|6||33||Marco Melandri||Yamaha World Superbike Team||21.634|
|7||50||Sylvain Guintoli||Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati||24.079|
|8||96||Jakub Smrz||Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati||25.688|
|9||86||Ayrton Badovini||BMW Motorrad Italia||29.621|
|10||66||Tom Sykes||Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing||30.681|
|11||4||Jonathan Rea||Castrol Honda||31.033|
|12||17||Joan Lascorz||Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing||37.063|
|13||91||Leon Haslam||BMW Motorrad||37.455|
|14||121||Maxime Berger||Supersonic Racing Ducati||40.509|
|15||12||Josh Waters||Yoshimura Suzuki||40.894|
|16||44||Roberto Rolfo||Team Pedercini Kawasaki||48.989|
|17||8||Mark Aitchison||Team Pedercini Kawasaki||52.388|
|18||111||Ruben Xaus||Castrol Honda||1’18.485|
|RET||41||Noriyuki Haga||PATA Racing Team Aprilia||19 Laps|
|RET||11||Troy Corser||BMW Motorrad||19 Laps|
Source: WorldSBK; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved