Checa reasserts authority with double
31 July 2011
Carlos Checa heads into the World Superbike summer break with a substantially increased lead in the overall standings after completing a double victory at Silverstone – his tenth win of the season.
The Spaniard, who came to Silverstone having seen his lead come down markedly at Motorland Aragon and Brno, had expected to struggle at this circuit, but proved the dominant figure in race conditions, calmly working himself into the lead on lap seven before easing to the chequered flag.
Though closest rival Max Biaggi enjoyed a much improved race in fourth, Checa nonetheless leaves the United Kingdom having increased his advantage from 30 points to 62 points with four rounds remaining.
In a race not too dissimilar to that of the first, Eugene Laverty was away best from the lights, sweeping into the lead ahead of Checa, Leon Camier and Marco Melandri.
Stung by his disappointing retirement in race one, a determined Camier planted a bold pass on Checa for second and immediately set about trying to put pressure on Laverty. Such pressure didn't come, Laverty holding steady up front, with Camier instead dropping back behind Checa on lap six.
Immediately onto the tail of Laverty, just as he did in race one, Checa swept through on lap seven would not be challenged to the chequered flag. Indeed, though Laverty matched Checa's lap times on occasion, he could do nothing beyond protect a fairly lonely second place.
Checa's double, which sees him crack Ducati's triple-century of WSBK wins, means he heads into the final eight races of the season with the advantage very much with him.
Still, it wasn't through lack of trying on Melandri and Biaggi's part, as they disputed the final podium spot behind Laverty. Indeed, though Camier held down third for much of the race, both Melandri and Biaggi – who had already traded several positions – would be through with less than two laps remaining.
A far more accomplished performance by Biaggi, who could only manage 11th in race one, he would ultimately run out of time to get the better of Melandri, the reigning champion leaving Silverstone having allowed his countryman to bring the gap between them down to nine points.
Camier followed in fifth after a somewhat unsatisfying day, well up on a battle for sixth that went the way of Sylvain Guintoli, the Frenchman snatching the place off John Hopkins on the final lap.
Hopkins had battled it out with former MotoGP rivals Biaggi and Melandri for several laps, but fell back towards the end to cross the line in seventh position behind Guintoli and just ahead of Leon Haslam.
Michel Fabrizio and Ayrton Badovini completed the top ten, ahead of Jakub Smrz, Maxime Berger, James Toseland – who lost time when he ran off the circuit on the opening lap – Mark Aitchison and Jon Kirkham.
Alex Lowes's fairly dismal British WSBK outing ended in the pit lane for his second retirement of the day, while Noriyuki Haga, Troy Corser and Joan Lascorz were also forced to curtail their race's early.