WSBK: Red Flag Doesn’t Shake Much Up for Misano Race 2

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Tom Sykes (1:55.197) started on pole for the 2011 World Superbike round at Misano after putting the Kawasaki on the front row in damp conditions during Saturday’s Superpole sessions, holding off a late-charging Carlos Checa by almost two tenths. They were joined on the front row by Jakub Smrz and Marco Melandri, with Max Biaggi only seventh. The damp and greasy conditions caught out many riders, including Checa, Smrz, Eugene Laverty, Ruben Xaus, and Leon Camier. The latter two were unable to set a time in Superpole 1 and qualified only fifteenth and sixteenth.

Checa and Biaggi fought over the fastest lap during the practice and qualifying sessions, with Checa coming out on top in the dry conditions. In the final qualifying practice, Noriyuki Haga was quite a bit slower than usual, and did not move on to participate in the Superpole sessions. Chris Vermeulen, hopefully recovered enough to race, was also knocked out in QP, along with the satellite Kawasakis, two Italian wildcard riders, and Lorenzo Lanzi. Lanzi is filling in this weekend and next at Motorland Aragon for the still-recovering James Toseland. Checa was again quickest in the morning warm-up, leading to a sunny and occasionally dramatic Race 1. Jonatha Rea missed that race, and Race 2, after a massive crash in the warm-up. He sustained a clean break to his right radius, “Plus a lot of bumps/bruises from a 230kph off,” in a tweet from Castrol Honda.

It was again sunny for the start of Race 2, as Sykes got a second great start, with Haslam into second, then Checa, Biaggi, and Melandri the top five through the first few turns. Haslam was into the lead for the second time in a replay of the first race, as Checa shoved his was into second, with Biaggi following him through on Sykes. Sykes looked to get back around Biaggi soon thereafter, but was nearly squeezed by Laverty. Haslam led Checa, Biaggi, Sykes, Melandri, Smrz, Guintoli, Camier, and Haga as the top ten at the end of the first of twenty-four laps.

Soon, Haslam, Checa, and Biaggi had begun to put a bit of a gap between themselves and  Sykes, who was under attack from Melandri. Checa passed Haslam on L3 for the lead, with Biaggi looking to get past the Brit as well. The Italian pushed both wide and took second, setting off to attack Checa. Meanwhile, Melandri was around Sykes for fourth. Polita lost the front on the fifth lap, sliding out of the race.

Five laps in, Checa had nearly three tenths on Biaggi, with Haslam, Melandri, and Sykes the top five. However, Melandri was soon through after the brusied Haslam made a small mistake. Sykes closed and kept a clear eye for any way up into fourth. The leaders seemed to settle in for the middle of the race, with Checa’s lead over Biaggi up to six tenths, ten laps in.

Melandri was also very unlucky, losing the front end at Turn 1. As Camier went through the same section, he also went down, bringing out a red flag. Melandri, after getting a ride back to the garage, attempted to get his bike started to get it back to the garage, though whether he would be allowed to participate in the restart was in doubt. In the end, it did not matter as he couldn’t get the bike started.

Checa was on pole for the restart, as the riders’ positions from the last completed lap made the grid. Biaggi, Haslam, and Sykes completed the front row. Biaggi led into the first turn for the fourteen lap sprint, with Haslam into second, Checa third, and Guintoli fourth. Haslam went for his typical first lap move to take the lead from Biaggi, but he went far to wide and dropped behind Checa. Haslam was under Checa at the next turn. Biaggi led Haslam, Checa, Laverty, Guintoli, Badovini, Haga, Smrz, Skyes, and Farizio as the top ten at the end of the first lap.

Checa slid under Haslam for second at the start of the second lap, with Laverty taking third from Haslam a turn later. Soon, Biaggi had a clear gap over Checa, who had a bit of space back to Laverty in third. However, Checa was continuously closing on the Italian. As the top two dueled without passing, Haga and Haslam continued to trade fourth betweent them in the central laps of the third race.

Laverty, running comfortably in third, ran off the track. He continued on, but  dropped down to fifteenth. Soon thereafter, Smrz crashed again, taking no one but himself out. Meanwhile, Haga and Haslam continued to trade third. At the halfway of the shortened race, Biaggi went well wide and off the track, leaving Checa to slide into first and a lead of more than one second.

With just five laps left, Sykes slid off, managing to get back on and continue on through the race, while Checa was back into his Race 1 form. Meanwhile, Badovini had joined Haga and Haslam in the fight over the final podium position. When Haslam ran wide, Badovini on the satellite BMW took fourth from him. Checa had extended his lead to two seconds over Biaggi with two laps left. In the end, Race 3 was much like Race 1, with the fighting only down the order. Checa had his eighth win on the season, with Biaggi second, and Haga third out of the final turn, after Badovini had taken the position a few turns earlier.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Misano:

Pos. No. Rider Team Diff.
1 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati
2 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 1.484
3 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 7.772
4 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 7.856
5 91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 9.714
6 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 10.777
7 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 10.875
8 111 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 13.483
9 17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki 13.576
10 77 Chris Vermeulen Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki 17.962
11 57 Lorenzo Lanzi BMW Motorrad Italia 22.768
12 44 Roberto Rolfo Team Pedericini Kawasaki 24.535
13 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team 51.895
14 66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki 1:04.134
Not Classified
121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati 6 Laps
96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 9 Laps
15 Matteo Baiocco Barni Ducati Racing Team S.N.C. 11 Laps
2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team
33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team
53 Alessandro Polita Barni Ducati Racing Team S.N.C.
8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedericini Kawasaki

Source: WSBK