WSBK: One Man Show for Race 1 at Phillip Island

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Carlos Checa started the season-opening round of World Superbike racing at Phillip Island on pole, having dominated testing and the weekend. Reigning champion Max Biaggi started alongside him, finally bearing his #1 championship plate, having posted a qualifying time just .013s slower than Checa’s. Completing the front row were Sylvain Guintoli and Leon Haslam, both quick in the dry times from Saturday’s qualifying.

Conditions on Sunday led to some shake-ups in the order for the morning warm-up, as overnight rain dampened the track. Australian Troy Corser led those times, followed by Guintoli, Jakub Smrz, Haslam, and the injured Jonathan Rea. Chris Vermeulen was unable to race at Phillip Island after failing to pass the physical due to a slow recovery from knee surgery. To find out who dominated Phillip Island Race 1, continue reading after the jump.

Though both Biaggi and Laverty gave Checa a run for his money at the start, it was the Spaniard who led by a very comfortable margin to win Race 1 at Phillip Island. Biaggi finished second by his own comfortable margin over Haslam, with Laverty and Melandri rounding out the top five. The first three laps saw some dicing for the lead before Checa checked out, with a gap of nearly six seconds over the rest of the field at one point.

Laverty did well in his first ever WSBK race, leading at the end of the first lap and taking a close fourth from fellow WSBK rookie and teammate Melandri at the finish line. They, together with Haslam, spent much of the race scrapping over the final podium position. Corser and Fabrizio were in that mix early on, but drifted back as the race progressed. Rea had passed the Australian for fifth and was running well when he ran off the track, finishing twelfth. Neither Guintoli nor Joan Lascorz finished the race, crashing out separately and uninjured.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Phillip Island:

Pos. No. Rider Team Diff.
1 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing
2 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 4.365
3 91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad Motorsport 10.719
4 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team 11.266
5 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team 11.293
6 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 12.039
7 96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing (Ducati) 20.294
8 66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 20.742
9 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 22.421
10 11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad Motorsport 25.822
11 44 Roberto Rolfo Team Pedercini Kawasaki 29.27
12 4 Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda 31.059
13 2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 31.721
14 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia SBK 36.389
15 67 Bryan Staring Team Pedercini Kawasaki 36.47
16 111 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 41.928
17 52 James Toseland BMW Motorrad Italia SBK 55.239
18 12 Josh Waters Yoshimuri Suzuki 1’00.312
19 8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedercini Kawasaki 1’00.316
20 121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Team (Ducati) 1’30.125
Not Classified
RET 13 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 9 Laps
RET 3 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing (Ducati) 16 Laps

Source: WorldSBK; Photo: Althea Racing