Carlos Checa needs a mere 13th place finish in any of the final four races to ensure that he becomes the first Spanish winner of the World Superbike Championship.

The Althea Ducati rider sealed a 12th victory of the season with a run to victory in the second race of the day around Imola, Checa having already extended his advantage over Marco Melandri with a third place finish in the first encounter.

Indeed, with Checa inheriting the lead from Jonathan Rea in race two and Melandri suffering a mid-race off, there was a point where the Yamaha man was down the order enough so as to concede the title fight to his rival.

However, Melandri's charge up to sixth means the gap stands at 97 points - just three points shy of what Checa needed to wrap up the title in Italy. Nonetheless, Checa will instead have the opportunity to seal the inevitable at Magny-Cours in less than a week's time.

"Race 1 was really exciting, I battled hard with Sykes and it was a clean, fun race. In the end I was perhaps a little faster than him and I closed in third, an already very satisfactory result. Then Race 2 was even more thrilling! I'm sorry for Rea who had the pace to win, and for Melandri who was perhaps a little unlucky this weekend but of course I'm extremely happy to have won here at Imola.

"The championship is not yet over but we are very close to the title. We go on to the next round and what will be, will be. It's been a perfect weekend, I'm over the moon and want to thank the entire team, Ducati, the sponsors and of course all of the fans."