Classy Checa sprints to Misano double
12 June 2011
Carlos Checa has taken his fourth World Superbike race win on the trot – and his eighth of the season – after winning a shortened second race at Misano.
With the race reduced to 14 laps following an earlier red flag, Checa, who had been leading at that time, looked to have a competition on his hands after Biaggi burst into the lead from the restart and established an early lead.
However, just as Checa was beginning to pressure Biaggi for the lead, the Italian ran wide on lap eight and allowed his rival through into an insurmountable lead.
Indeed, Checa looked to be in control of the race at the first start, taking the lead from Leon Haslam on lap three. Though Biaggi went with him as they lapped consistently faster than those behind, Checa was looking good for his second victory of the day.
However, the dynamic of the race changed on lap ten when both Marco Melandri – who was running third - and Leon Camier fell separately at turn one, the bikes landing in dangerous positions on the track to necessitate a red flag.
As such, the race was restarted with a duration of just 14 laps, while the revised grid reflected the positions at the end of lap nine. As such, while Checa was now on pole position, Biaggi was up from seventh to second, a fortune he capitalised on as he swept into the lead at the restart.
Checa gave chase once he had dispatched of Haslam, the BMW rider once again looking racy early on as he made the most of starting in third position. By contrast, Tom Sykes, who was challenging Melandri and Haslam for third place during the first start, lost out from fourth on the grid, the Kawasaki rider getting shuffled down to tenth position.
Once again, the top two didn't take long to break away, albeit Biaggi leading Checa on this occasion. Checa was soon shadowing Biaggi, but with fewer laps to the chequered flag, the Italian was pushing hard to keep the championship leader at bay.
As such, just as Checa was beginning to apply pressure to his rival for the lead, Biaggi ran wide at turn nine and allowed him through. Dropping almost two seconds, though Biaggi was safe in second place, it enabled Checa to establish a sizeable lead that he would carry to the chequered flag for his eighth win in twelve races. He now leads the standings by 72 points.
Behind the top two, an intense scrap for third occupied much of the attention, particularly after Eugene Laverty crashed out of the provisional podium spot on lap six.
It meant Haslam, who went into the race nursing bruises from his high-side earlier in the day, was promoted back into the position, albeit under increasing pressure from Noriyuki Haga, Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio.
Despite his dogged defence, Haslam succumbed to Haga on lap nine, before Badovini followed through on lap eleven to assume the status as the leading BMW rider.
Indeed, once released from the pack, Badovini swiftly caught Haga and was on his tail as they entered the final lap of the race. Spurred on by the Italian fans, Badovini sneaked past Haga mid-way around the lap to put himself in a position to score a maiden WSBK podium.
However, Haga's experience told when he got a better drive out of the final bend and out-dragged the disappointed Badovini to the finish line. A fantastic result for veteran Haga, it represents his first podium with PATA Aprilia.
Haslam was rewarded with a fifth place finish as he fended off the hard charging Michel Fabrizio, himself nursing arm injuries after also falling in race one. Sylvain Guintoli crossed the line seventh, while Ruben Xaus gave Castrol Honda something to smile about with a run to eighth.
Behind them, Joan Lascorz assumed Kawasaki honours in ninth after Sykes crashed out from the position on lap nine, while Chris Vermeulen made the most of the high attrition rate to not only complete his first full race weekend in a year, but also score a first top ten finish for Kawasaki.
Lorenzo Lanzi and Roberto Rolfo finished 11th and 12th as the last of the riders not to hit problems, the pair trailed by the recovering Laverty and Sykes.
Just 17 riders would take to the start line for the restart after Melandri, Camier, Mark Aitchison and Alessandro Polita retired prior to the red flag, while Jonathan Rea and Troy Corser didn't make it to the grid at all.