Carlos Checa's chances of securing the 2011 World Superbike Championship title have been dealt a service at the Nurburgring after securing an 11th win of the season in Max Biaggi's absence.
The Spaniard began the race weekend with a sizeable 62 point advantage over Biaggi, but the Italian's decision to sit out the event due to a foot injury immediately handed Checa a prime opportunity to put the 2011 title out of his reach.
Duly going on to secure an 11th win of the year, Checa's margin grew to 74 points over Marco Melandri, who now assumes the status as his closest title challenger.
Dedicating his win to Claudio Castiglioni, who recently passed away, Althea Ducati rider Checa was delighted with his victory, even if he would have preferred Biaggi to have taken part.
“The first race was very special for me, and signifies my first ever SBK win at the Nürburgring. I would like to dedicate this result to Claudio Castiglioni, he was an extremely important figure in the motorcyling world and it is also in part thanks to him that we are here racing these bikes today.
“The race one result was very important in terms of the championship. I knew that it was important to increase the gap between me and Noriyuki in the first half of the race and this small advantage proved useful in the final stages when I began to suffer from a lack of grip.
In the rain-affected race two, Checa preferred to adopt a cautious approach, dropping from first to 14th in the opening stages, before steadily working his way up to eighth at the chequered flag.
“Race two on the other hand was one of the hardest races I've ever run. We were obliged to try to finish it of course but I was really suffering due to the sheer quantity of water and track conditions, and couldn't even see as far as the next corner!
“I'm sorry for those who took risks and I'm also sorry that Biaggi was not racing with us today. I hope he gets better and that we'll see him back at Imola. But for us it was a very positive day and I'm very happy with the outcome.”
With Melandri finishing in sixth, he was able to chip the gap between the two down to 72 points. Even so, Checa still enjoys one of the largest margins of any rider in WSBK history with three rounds remaining. Indeed, only a handful of riders have established a more advantageous position at this stage, with each going on to secure the crown.