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Carlos Checa has regained ground in the fight for the 2012 World Superbike Championship with a commanding third victory of the season at Miller Motorsports Park.
Demonstrating his undoubted prowess around the twisting American circuit, Checa bided his time during the early stages, moving to the front for the first time on lap eight before controlling his advantage to the chequered flag.
Marking his fifth victory in nine starts at Miller Motorsports Park, the full 25 points go a long way to making up for the ground he lost with a crash last time out at Donington Park.
Starting from second position on the grid behind pole sitter Jakub Smrz, Checa got away well to hold his place through the opening turns.
However, while the fast-starting Tom Sykes rose from third to assume the early lead, Smrz went in the other direction down to fifth place, behind Marco Melandri – up from ninth – and Jonathan Rea. Still, Smrz fared better than Effenbert Liberty Ducati team-mate Sylvain Guintoli, who plummeted from sixth to 15th after running wide at turn two, while Davide Giugliano wasted his maiden front row start as he completed the opening lap in just tenth.
Punching well above his grid position, Melandri set about making his charge early on, passing Checa on lap two for second position before nosing his BMW into the lead ahead of Sykes on lap five.
With Checa quickly following through, a flustered Sykes would promptly get swallowed up by the close chasing pack, the Kawasaki rider dropping from first to fifth by the end of lap five.
With just five seconds covering the top ten, Melandri attempted to stretch his advantage but he was shadowed at every turn by Checa, the Spaniard coming good on his intentions with a decisive move on lap eight.