Carlos Checa has stretched his advantage at the top of the World Superbike standings after claiming a comfortable fifth victory of the season at a chilly Miller Motorsports Park.
The Spaniard played it cool during the opening laps of the race after a tardy start from pole position left him in fourth position initially, Checa proceeding to steadily work his way back up the order to relieve early leader Troy Corser on lap six and never looking back.
A peerless performance from the Althea rider – save for a slightly embarrassing fall on the mud during his lap of honour -, he led a Ducati 1-2-3 after an excellent performance from WSBK rookies Effenbert-Liberty saw Jakub Smrz and Sylvain Guintoli flank Checa on the podium.
Not unsurprisingly, the long drag down the to the first corner did not play to the advantages of Ducati front row starters Checa and Smrz, with Troy Corser on the BMW and all three Aprilias making notable gains during the opening turns.
A few position swaps later and Corser had emerged out front, ahead of fellow WSBK veteran Noriyuki Haga, Guintoli, Checa and Max Biaggi.
However, Biaggi's race would come to a dramatic conclusion before the opening lap had been completed after tangling with Jonathan Rea and barrelling out of the race. Some rather furious gesticulation from Rea, who had gotten up to sixth from 13th on the grid, made his feelings clear, but a first crash-related DNF for Biaggi since Portimao 2008 will prove a substantial blow to his title hopes.
Their collision cut a gap in the field, with the top four of Corser, Haga, Guintoli and Checa now comfortably ahead of Leon Camier, Marco Melandri and Smrz, who ran off the circuit on the opening lap and dropped back.
While proceedings certainly weren't being helped by a stream of water cascading across a corner of the circuit, the race settled down with Checa making steady gains, moving ahead Guintoli on lap three and eventually passing Haga on lap five after a few quick-fire position swaps.
Setting his sights on Corser, Checa wasted no time in pushing past the BMW, claiming the lead on lap six and swiftly proceeding to gap the opposition.