Checa snatches last gasp victory

The Spaniard takes the privateer Althea Racing team to an outstanding victory at Phillip Island after a late race charge
A stunning move for the lead on the penultimate corner of the race has seen Carlos Checa take a shock maiden victory for the privateer Althea Racing team at Phillip Island

In a hugely entertaining race that went down to the wire, Checa stalked his way back into contention after a poor start to launch his bid for victory on the run down to MG at the final time of asking to deny Leon Haslam a double victory for Suzuki.

A remarkable performance by the Spaniard, who was only eighth after the opening lap, the result marks his third career World Superbike win, but perhaps more significantly, the first triumph for the Althea Racing team on its debut with Ducati machinery.

Haslam had looked on course for a second win of the day after moving ahead during the latter stages, the Briton seemingly pulling a decisive move on team-mate Sylvain Guintoli after the Frenchman had snatched the lead on lap six.

Nonetheless, despite the disappointment of losing out to Checa, Haslam still takes an early lead in the standings with a weekend points haul of 45 points.

Even though he had qualified fourth on the grid, there was little indication that Checa was going to be a race win contender from the lights as a tardy getaway saw him shuffled down to 11th initially before he hauled himself back into the top ten by the close of the opening lap.

Up at the front there was a repeat of the first race with Michel Fabrizio out-dragging Haslam into turn one, only for the Suzuki rider to maintain his outside line and snatch back the position into turn two. Noriyuki Haga made it an identical top three as he once again rocketed up from tenth position.

Just behind, Jonathan Rea ruined his chances to challenging at the sharp end when he out-braked himself into, appropriately enough, Honda and dropped to the back of the field. It was an error Cal Crutchlow, Max Biaggi and Leon Camier would go on to mirror over the next few laps.

Trailing the top three, Chris Vermeulen found himself in fourth position after a mighty getaway from 14th on the grid, followed by Guintoli and James Tosleand.

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jimmy - Unregistered

February 28, 2010 5:23 AM

What an absolutely fabulous race!!! So many great moments! But first of all, I hope Vermin is OK, it was terrible crash. Stunning performance by Checa, obligatory gravel trip (and following chase) by Johnny Rea and again surprisingly weak Yams... now there's a month of boredom. OMG! :rolleyes:

Bob Buttamasangy

February 28, 2010 5:38 AM

Makes me wonder why I bother with MotoGP after this! Good weekend, good racing. I hope the rest of the circuits can live up to the spectacle of the series opener. Oh yeah, I liked the way the old Beemer with the heated grips, adjustable screen and krauser panniers leisurely rode around the outside of the MotoGP derived crossplane crankshaft R1 yamahas! Funny.

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