18.30pm Sunday

Well, that is it from me at Donington Park.

The racing has been tremendous as always and we have two very richly deserving winners in the shape of Melandri and Checa, while Scassa in the Supersports also warrants a mention.

So who is my rider of the day? Frankly, it is too difficult to decide, so I'll break it down into sub-awards...

Most spectacular rider: Marco Melandri - He wrung the neck of the Yamaha R1 in race one as he shimmied his way to an unlikely first WSBK from ninth position on the grid, though Checa's supreme race two performance runs it close.Unluckiest rider: Maxime Berger - One of the most bizarre accidents we've seen in a while, we originally reported the wheel had come off his Supersonic Ducati - it had actually sheared off at the spokes! Plus, there is no flattering way to come off a 'unicycle', especially when you certainly aren't expecting it.Most consistent rider: Leon Haslam - Led at the start of both races, and while it became clear that the BMW still isn't quite capable of winning races yet, two fourth place finishes are a rich reward when you consider his team-mate Troy Corser was barely seen all weekend.The NHS award for bounciest rider: Gino Rea - He said pre-event that he had to stay on the bike to prevent his injured thumb from bending back and tearing the tendon again. He proceeded to fall several times... Though not in the Supersport race where he scored a well deserved third place finish. Should soothe those aches and pains...Surprise of the day: Jakub Smrz - Who said Jakub can't race? The Czech rider silenced some critics by getting a good start, fighting to the front and extending his advantage - only some fading tyres and an inspired Melandri denied what would have been a very popular first win in 110 attempts!Naughty boy of the day: Max Biaggi - An easy choice, Biaggi looked flustered from the start of the Saturday when he came down twice at the same place in Q2. He then proceeded to get in the way of Melandri and Haga in Superpole, before getting fans in a flap when he was shown to confront and 'slap' Melandri in the pit lane. Remarkably it got worse, getting all twisted up in race one before jumping the race two start and refusing to accept the penalty he was undoubtedly going to receive. An uncharacteristically bad weekend, I suspect he is already winging his way back to Italy to avoid any potential gloating from the Yamaha guys...Unsung hero: Joan Lascorz - Settling into the Superbike way of life, he produced a fine fifth place finish in race two to show what the Kawasaki is truly capable of. Special mention to team-mate Sykes, who arguably gave the manufacturer its most competitive performance in years before crashing.British rider of the day: Leon Camier - The only local rider to get on the Superbike podium this weekend, it was probably the one we were least expecting after Haslam, Rea and possibly even Laverty. And he isn't even fully fit yet...

As the lorries dispatch and the hospitality units are dismantled around me, Donington Park 2011 is being packed away for another year. A successful event and a welcome return to the schedule for the circuit, despite the bitterly cold conditions that certainly had its affect on the spectator numbers.

Nonetheless, let's hope Donington Park is in for an extended stay on the calendar, albeit a bit later in the year maybe...

In the meantime, keep it locked on Crash.net for all of the post-weekend news, including exclusive interviews with Melandri, Checa, Laverty and Haslam among others.

Over and out - Ollie

17.15pm Sunday

A quick look at the points' standings sees Checa 19 points up on Melandri, while Haslam is holding firm in third place for BMW after a pair of fourth place finishes today.

Biaggi has lost out after his first failure to finish in two years, dropping him to fourth - 42 points behind Checa already!

Smrz's second place finish in race one sees him higher than ever in fifth overall, while Rea, Camier, Fabrizio, Haga and Sykes round out the top ten.

Also, every full-time rider bar Berger - who didn't finish either race - have scored at least a point.

16.30pm Sunday

A special mention must go to Haslam, who put in a heroic ride to fourth after running off the circuit on the exit of Coppice.

More than that though, the bumps on the grass caused the BMW to bounce up, with the screen hitting him directly in the neck. He is apparently in the medical centre receiving some stitches, but is otherwise fine.

16.15pm Sunday

Well, race two wasn't quite as breathless at race one, but no less significant.

Checa won fairly easily for the third time this season, extending his margin at the top to 19 points over Melandri, who finished second. Plaudits to Camier, who pushed Melandri hard and flew the flag for Aprilia in a race that saw his team-mate Biaggi disqualified.

The Italian jumped the start - and not even by a small margin, the reigning champion moving and even having time to realise his mistake and stop, before getting going again.

It makes you wonder why he didn't come in to take the predictable penalty he was bound to get. Regardless whether he didn't see the board telling him to come in, he must have been aware it was coming...

In a field so small (with possible retirements), he could have got back into the race and scraped some points - we all know how important a single point can be.

An interesting weekend for the champion - that mellow demeanour was tested at times, from his argument with Melandri, his erratic race one and his exclusion in race two. The pressure seems to be showing.

15.15pm Sunday

World Superbikes race two is coming up, thankfully with a full 19 riders on the grid, including Eugene Laverty.

The Irishman had a big high-side at Coppic early in the first race, his second large accident in as many days. Nonetheless, he's dusted himself off - and Yamaha have buffed out some of the scratches - so he is on the grid for race two.

14.40pm Sunday

Suzuki is going through the mire in MotoGP at the moment following the horrific injury suffered by Alvaro Bautista in Qatar.

Naturally, attention almost immediately turned to 'who will replace him', but while they are sorted for Jerez with John Hopkins, it's unlikely his Samsung Crescent team will be willing to let him go full-time before he's even turned a wheel in BSB.

So who else is in the frame? A few have suggested Haslam, runner-up with Suzuki in WSBK last year, as a good candidate. However, the man himself is comprehensively ruling that out - and not just because he is contracted to BMW.

"I wouldn't go there with Suzuki," he said emphatically. "I have a lot on right now with the BMW project, but I wouldn't go there without a competitive ride. Suzuki seems to be struggling, so there would be no point in going there and making up the numbers.

"In the future if a competitive ride came along with BMW or another manufacturer... it's where everyone wants to be - but World Superbikes is my main focus."

14.15pm Sunday

The Italian flag is flying aloft the podium again as Scassa completes a second straight Supersport win at Donington Park. Davies tried hard on the final lap, but a slightly bungled move at the first bend left him on the back foot and he couldn't respond - another win for Yamaha.

Sam Lowes and James Ellison fell by the wayside with technical issues having held third, leaving Gino Rea to inherit the position - a rich reward for the youngster after his difficulties this weekend.

It may not have been the classic we were hoping for (Supersport is always good value for money), but Scassa and Yamaha are proving to be the combination to beat this year.

13.45pm Sunday

Perhaps the most bizarre moment of the first Superbike race - other than Biaggi's rather manic performance - was Maxime Berger's retirement.

While the words 'No 121 crashed - rider ok' didn't cause much of a flurry when it flashed up on the screens, the replay showing why certainly did!

The Frenchman - who struggled off the line on the warm-up lap - was ever so slightly clipped by Badovini exiting the final corner. Nonetheless that was enough for the rear wheel to detatch itself from the Ducati.

You can just imagine Berger's shock as he fell backwards on his new Supersonic Ducati unicycle...

13.40pm Sunday

The Supersport race is underway with Yamaha looking good out front, though Lowes is just behind Ellison in fourth having recovered from a poor start.

No big dramas - save for Danilo Dell'Omo's Triumph blowing in a big way on the opening lap, thankfully with no incident to those following.

13.30pm Sunday

I may need to apologise to Smrz - I gave him the writer's curse by drafting out a race report in which he was the winner. And then Melandri came along...

It's a shame in a way - Smrz has always been regarded as a mid-field racer than flatters with excellent grid positions. He told me yesterday that he takes a while to get into races and that's why he often struggles to convert what has now been several front row starts - but he was on it from the word go here.

Had he won, it would have been his first in 110 attempts, only his second podium (which he achieved regardless) and a maiden win for Effenbert-Liberty Ducati too.

12.45pm Sunday

Where to start?! Melandri is a World Superbike winner in only his third race after a methodical rise through the order on the Yamaha.

In a way, there was some disappointment here that Smrz didn't hold on for that first win - you get the feeling Melandri will be a regular winner in World Superbikes, so a first win for Smrz in 110 attempts would have been a sweet win. Nonetheless, outstanding ride for the Czech.

Biaggi? Well, he commanded a lot of airtime, albeit for the wrong reasons. He was quick, but spent far too much time over-riding and as a result was a fairly disgruntled seventh - seeing Melandri win is unlikely to calm him down for race two!

A shame for Sykes, who crashed whilst looking competitive, while it was a Haslam and Camier couldn't sustain their early pace.

11.50am Sunday

Ten minutes to go before the start of the first World Superbike race of the day at Donington Park - where's your money going?

What do I think? Checa will be a tough to beat, but Haslam is brimming with confidence on the BMW. Be good to see Kawasaki and Sykes on the podium, but I'll be casting an eye on Melandri and Laverty, who will be keen to put a tough qualifying session behind them.

11.15am Sunday

There are few on this earth that would not have been shocked and saddened by the earthquake and tsunami that devastated north-east Japan just over two weeks ago.

That shock has been felt sharply in the motorcycling world, which has strong links with the Japanese through the likes of Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki.

MotoGP did their bit, with Casey Stoner holding a Japanese flag on the podium, while Yamaha will this weekend run with messages on the side of its R1.

In addition, there will be a grid tribute with a one minute's silence to held at 11.45 to remember the victims of the disaster.

11.00am Sunday

Jonathan Rea is a hard man. At least compared to me. I've been complaining to anyone that'll listen (no-one is listening) about my chapped lips, but he reeled off the list of his injuries - two painful wrists and a dislocated finger - before finishing his sentences with 'I don't think I have anymore injury excuses now'.

Those riders get more pain from not competing than actually competing with pain...

10.50am Sunday

A delay to proceedings here after a flurry of accidents during the GB Superstock 1000 race. The race was stopped on lap two of ten and medical crews are attending to at least two of the riders on the track.

10.45am Sunday

A notable absentee from the Supersport warm-up timesheets was Foret, who has confirmed he won't be riding this weekend. The Frenchhman was struggling with hand and back injuries heading into the weekend - before he threw the Ten Kate Honda down the Craner Curves on Friday.

Though he soldiered on in Q2, he has called time on his weekend and will instead be supporting team-mate Florian Marino.

Having emerged a title favourite in pre-season testing, one DNF and one DNS from the opening two rounds means his - and the team's - hopes are hanging by a thread already.

Also, officials are not allowing RivaMoto duo Eduardo Blokhin and Oleg Pozdneev to race after missing the 107 per cent cut by two seconds in qualifying.

10.20am Sunday

Italian television were in the right place at the right time to catch Melandri and Biaggi's confrontation in the pit lane after qualifying yesterday - and it's turned into a viral hit here in the media centre as we watch in surprise and pass our views on the Italian spat.

If you haven't seen it, Biaggi gave Melandri a light slap on the face as they 'discussed' the events of Superpole before a few more words were exchanged and the world champion stormed back down to his Aprilia garage.

Though Biaggi is known for his temperament, it isn't something we have seen much in the WSBK paddock - the presence of Melandri has seemingly stoked up some old feelings...

10.00am Sunday

Scassa has put his laptop down long enough to set the fastest time for the Supersports in warm-up, ahead of Lowes, Davies, Parkes and Ellison.

A bit more dramatic than the Superbikes, Robert Muresan had a big crash at Craner Curves. The man himself walked away, but PTR have a busy morning on their hands to get the bike ready for the race at 13.30GMT.

09.35am Sunday

It's a Leon 1-2 as Camier comes out fighting in warm-up, ahead of his namesake Haslam. :Lascorz and Sykes confirm Kawasakis pace in third and fourth, with Smrz fifth.

Sparring partners Melandri and Biaggi are sixth and seventh best. As for Checa? A quiet start to the day, down in 16th... Perhaps he forgot to change his clock.

No fallers - 19 will take to the starting grid at 12.00GMT

09.30am Sunday

Warm-up is underwa as the riders use the last 20mins of practice to pick which tyres to use in the two races. Not an easy decision given the conditions, so we could be in for a couple of interesting races.

Meantime, Camier leads Haslam and Melandri with five minutes to go.

08.45am Sunday

Eugene Laverty is a man that likes to lead from the front, so you could almost see the smile through his visor as he dived to the front in his first-ever World Superbike race at Phillip Island.

Leading the first lap of his first Superbike season, I'll have to call upon some statisticians to ask whether that's been done before, but for the man himself, it was a 'nice' feeling to have a clear track in front of him.

"It was nice. I just wanted to get a clear track and then concentrate on my riding. It wasn't more pressure - it was less pressure, in fact. I haven't raced with these guys before and I didn't want to spend the first few laps scrapping with guys I didn't know.

"It was also nice to lead the last few laps of Supersport last year and then lead the first lap of Superbikes this year."

08.15am Sunday

It may be 7am in my head, but I'm here and present (though not quite awake) for race day at Donington Park. Of course, it's bitterly cold and the forecast doesn't suggest it'll get much better - even fog has been mentioned!

The guys will be out for warm-up shortly, but looking ahead to today's races, much is likely to depend on the tyres, which won't be used to the cooler than usual temperatures.

Biaggi made few friends with a couple of moves during Superpole yesterday - even less when the pair confronted one another in the pit lane - though while Melandri stated the actions showed Biaggi's 'true professionalism', he is cool on the incident and already shrugging it off and focusing on the races.



Loading Comments...