WSBK: Another Nail-Biter for Race 2 at Phillip Island

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Phillip Island served up another nail-biter for WSBK fans this Sunday. With the race winner making a last lap pass, no one could have guessed the top four finishers in this race. With a few familiar faces, along with a few new hopefuls, wrapping up the first stop on the World Superbike Championship only wets the appetite further for the rest of the WSBK season. Rider quotes, video highlights, and race standings after the jump.

Starting the race out early was the surprise duo of Alstare Suzuki’s Haslam and Guintoli. Haslam has been the surprise entry this weekend at Phillip Island, winning not only the Superpole qualifying event, but also Race 1. Even more surprising was the Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli’s presence up front throughout the race. Despite his terrific run, Guintoli finished under half a second behind Michel Fabrizio, who finished third.

Talking about his top-form result, Guintoli said the following:

I have really enjoyed today and it’s been great fun. I can’t remember the last time I was leading a world championship race, so to lead quite a lot of race two was a great feeling and now I want to do it again. When I was in front, I felt comfortable and I knew I could keep up a good pace. Everything felt very smooth and it was all going to plan until I made a small mistake and Leon and then Carlos went through…My pace was good, but I was too far off the leaders, but I am learning about WSBK race pace and also the fact that the races are longer than what I have been used to. I am very happy with all the work we’ve done and am enjoying riding this bike so much. It was nice to get a trophy and I hope that it will just be the start of many to come. I am looking forward to Portimao and my next trophy.

Perhaps the only thing that could overshadow the good results from Astare Suzuki is the Race 2 win by privateer Carlos Checa. Checa, who has an impressive racing resume, had a great week at Phillip Island, and showed strong times during the practice and qualifying events. The Ducati’s were in top form throughout the weekend, but Checa took the lead on the last lap from Leon Haslam, and drove it home to the finish line. The private team upset certainly should wake up the factory supported teams, namely Xerox Ducati. Talking about his surprise win, Checa said the following:

”The second race was perfect. In race one we chose a tyre that was perhaps too hard for the conditions and I found it hard to brake. In race two we selected a better tyre and I could brake much more strongly, I also had a very good pace and was able to pass riders fairly easily. My style of riding actually seemed to mean that tyre wear was less of a problem for me than for some other riders. By the last lap I was up in second and I could finally get pass Haslam. I wanted to pass him earlier but it was impossible and he didn’t leave me space to pass until the very end. I am of course extremely happy with the result, it is my first race with the Althea team and on the Ducati 1198 and we have a good package with which to fight this season. My thanks go to the entire team for their hard work and dedication.”

World Superbike makes its next stop at Portimao, Portugal on March 28th. Check out below for race highlights (see Vermeulen’s scary crash into the tire barriers!), and race standings for Race 2 at Phillip Island.

Results from Race 2 of World Superbike at Phillip Island, Australia:

Pos No. Rider Country Bike Diff
1 7 C. Checa ESP Ducati 1098R
2 91 L. Haslam GBR Suzuki GSX-R1000 0.307
3 84 M. Fabrizio ITA Ducati 1098R 0.434
4 50 S. Guintoli FRA Suzuki GSX-R1000 0.837
5 41 N. Haga JPN Ducati 1098R 3.453
6 65 J. Rea GBR Honda CBR1000RR 11.530
7 11 T. Corser AUS BMW S1000 RR 12.026
8 3 M. Biaggi ITA Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 13.068
9 35 C. Crutchlow GBR Yamaha YZF R1 14.401
10 52 J. Toseland GBR Yamaha YZF R1 14.707
11 2 L. Camier GBR Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 14.743
12 67 S. Byrne GBR Ducati 1098R 14.851
13 57 L. Lanzi ITA Ducati 1098R 15.143
14 25 J. Brookes AUS Honda CBR1000RR 30.947
15 88 A. Pitt AUS BMW S1000 RR 41.855
16 76 M. Neukirchner GER Honda CBR1000RR 48.844
17 31 V. Iannuzzo ITA Honda CBR1000RR 1’06.866
18 95 R. Hayden USA Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’07.751
RET 15 M. Baiocco ITA Kawasaki ZX 10R 5 Laps
RET 66 T. Sykes GBR Kawasaki ZX 10R 9 Laps
RET 77 C. Vermeulen AUS Kawasaki ZX 10R 15 Laps
RET 96 J. Smrz CZE Ducati 1098R 16 Laps