WSBK: Early Battles Make a Masterful Race 1 Win at Misano

06/12/2011 @ 3:53 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off on WSBK: Early Battles Make a Masterful Race 1 Win at Misano

Tom Sykes (1:55.197) was the surprising pole sitter for the 2011 World Superbike round at Misano, with Carlos Checa, Jakub Smrz, and Marco Melandri also on the front row. Saturday’s damp Superpole session made for a crash-fest, with Checa, Smrz, Eugene Laverty, Ruben Xaus, and Leon Camier, among others, all crashing. Neither Xaus nor Camier managed a time in S1 and qualified fifteenth and sixteenth, respectively. Sykes’ time was inspired, with the next-fastest Kawasaki of Joan Lascorz qualifying twelfth.

Third factory Kawasaki rider Chris Vermeulen was knocked out after the final qualifying practice, which is surprisingly good news for a rider that has yet to complete race distance in the 2011 season. Also recovering James Toseland was replaced for this weekend and next by Italian rider Lorenzo Lanzi, as his testing injury re-flared after the previous round in the United States. On Sunday morning, Checa was back into his top spot on the timesheets, leading Badovini, Fabrizio, Haga, and Smrz as the fastest five for the warm-up. Rea was taken to a local hospital after a heavy crash at Turn 11 in the warm-up, after being quite uncooperative in the medical center.

On the start, Sykes got a good start, leading into the first turn. Haslam, though, was into second from fifth around the oustide of Checa, with Biaggi fourth. Haslam went up the inside of Sykes for the lead, as Checa attempted to take second from the Brit a turn later. Instead, it was Biaggi who went second. At just the end of the first lap, Haslam led Biaggi, Sykes, Checa, Melandri, Smrz, Guintoli, Corser, Laverty, and Lascorz as the top ten.

Biaggi did not remain second for long, taking the lead from Haslam as Checa also moved around Sykes. Soon thereafter, Melandri took fourth from Sykes, with the Kawasaki rider seemingly going backwards. Soon, Biaggi had more than six tenths on Checa, with Haslam, Melandri, and Sykes the top five. Just before crossing the line, Smrz spun and fell down in front of much of the field on the straight to end his race.

Biaggi still led the same top five at the end of the fifth lap, with Checa slowing closing on the Italian. Melandri slid through on Haslam for third, and a lap or so later teammate Laverty took fifth from Sykes, only to lose it, then make the pass stick. Checa had closed right up on Biaggi eight laps into the race while Melandri was four seconds behind the pair in third. Laverty was all over the rear of Haslam, looking for a way past for fourth, only for  Haslam to crash.

Back at the front, Checa aggressively went under Biaggi when the Italian went a bit wide at about the halfway point of the race. Biaggi kept close to the Spaniard while Melandri was nearly five and a half seconds behind them. The two leaders settled in for a bit, staying close together but without any dicing over the lead. Soon, Biaggi began to make a few small mistakes and allowed Checa to gain a second on him.

The field was well spread out when five laps remained, Checa leading Biaggi by two seconds, Melandri well adrift in third, Laverty three seconds behind his teammate, and Sykes holding station in fifth. Checa remained consistently quick and smooth through the final laps, though the real drama came from pole-sitter Sykes. He caught up Laverty in fourth with two laps to go and was just a tenth behind him as they crossed the line to start the final lap. In the end, Checa won the first race at Misano, with Biaggi second, Melandri third, and Sykes pushing through on Laverty nearly at the line. Camier completed the top five. Despite his masterful race form, Checa stalled his bike just before starting his celebrations and was forced to get a lift with Xaus (who finished eleventh) to the podium.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Misano:

17Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati
21Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team0.984
333Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team17.124
466Tom SykesPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki18.652
558Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team18.929
62Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team21.003
750Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati22.942
886Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia23.117
917Joan LascorzPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki31.729
10121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati31.729
11111Ruben XausCastrol Honda34.466
1215Matteo BaioccoBarni Ducati Racing Team S.N.C.36.683
1353Alessandro PolitaBarni Ducati Racing Team S.N.C.37.984
1477Chris VermeulenPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki41.016
1557Lorenzo LanziBMW Motorrad Italia43.514
Not Classified
8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedericini Kawasaki4 Laps
44Roberto RolfoTeam Pedericini Kawasaki10 Laps
91Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad15 Laps
11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad19 Laps
41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia20 Laps
84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare21 Laps
96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati23 Laps

Source: WSBK; Photo: Althea Ducati

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