Imola World Superbike Results 2011

September 25, 2011
Matt Davidson
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Jonathan Rea earned his first win since returning from injury but lost the double victory in Race 2 after suffering a mechanical.
Jonathan Rea earned his first win since returning from injury but lost the double victory in Race 2 after suffering a mechanical.

As the 2011 World Superbike series entered its final three rounds it was Castrol Honda’s Jonathan Rea who pulled off the victory in the first race at Imola. Capitalizing on a recent technological sanction by the FIM, Rea and his team chose to compete with a new ride-by-wire throttle system which paid off after the Irishman set a new lap record on the way to winning his second race of the year just more than a tenth ahead of Pata Aprilia’s Noriyuki Haga. The final race in Italy, however, was not so kind to Rea as the 24-year-old’s bike stopped working in the middle of the race. Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa went on to seize his 12th victory of the season, putting him 97 points clear of the competition with just two rounds left.

Race 1
Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes had a terrific start to Round 11 after starting from the front row in fourth. The Brit held the lead until Lap 4 when Rea took over ahead of Sykes, Yamaha’s Eugene Laverty, Checa, Haga, BMW Motorrads’ Leon Haslam, Liberty Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli and Yamaha’s Marco Melandri. After starting from 10th on the grid Aprilia’s Leon Camier was in dead last in the first few laps as Rea began to stretch his lead up front. Alstare Suzuki’s Michel Fabrizio also had a tough start to the day after crashing out on the opening lap at his home race along with Frenchman Max Berger. On Lap 9 Haga was on the move and pushing to the front after passing Checa and Sykes. The Japanese rider slowly cut into Rea’s advantage, and by Lap 13 the duo were less than a second from each other. Less than a lap later Haslam had crashed out of sixth place as Guintoli, Melandri, BMW Italia’s Aryton Badovini and Liberty Racing’s Jakub Smrz fought for position.
On the final lap Haga made one last charge toward the front but came up short by just more than a tenth.

Carlos Checa won the final race at Imola but will have to wait to receive the championship crown.
Carlos Checa won the final race at Imola but will have to wait to receive the championship crown.

“It’s a great day for me especially after my race at Imola here last year and my injuries, so all credit to everyone for getting me back to the top step,” Rea said. “Nori kept me on it for the whole race, I had to dig so deep at the end to try and get that win, but I’m so happy, we’re a very strong team.”

“First of all I made a mistake at the start and then to make up positions I used a lot of my stamina to catch up to the pack,” said Haga. “I tried to push until I caught up with Johnny, but he was riding very well and I didn’t find any space to pass him in the corners.”

Checa had to settle for the final podium spot after passing Sykes on the last lap, the Spaniard finishing just 0.343 seconds ahead.

“It was a nice clean and exciting fight with Tom [Sykes] until the end, I was a bit quicker than him,” Checa said. “We passed each other three or four times, I didn’t want to touch him but on the outside I was able to keep the position and take him. It’s always nice to be on the podium especially at Imola with this situation in the championship!”

Despite a rocky start to the weekend Laverty took the checkers in a respectable fifth. The fight for sixth was a bitter one and came down to the wire with Liberty Ducati teammates Guintoli and Smrz finishing sixth and seventh, respectively. Melandri earned eighth at his first home race more than 24 seconds behind the leader. Badovini was the best finisher of the race for BMW in ninth, followed by Lascorz who rounded out the top-10 for Kawasaki.

Imola Race 1 Results:
1. Jonathan Rea (Honda)
2. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia)

Tom Sykes - Aragon 2011
Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes lost a battle with Carlos Checa for the final podium spot on the last lap in Race 1.

3. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
5. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha)
6. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati)
7. Jakub Smrz (Ducati)
8. Marco Melandri (Yamaha)
9. Aryton Badovini (BMW)
10. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki)
11. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki)
12. Troy Corser (BMW)
13. Federico Sandi (Ducati)
14. Alessandro Polita (Ducati)
15. Leon Camier (Aprilia)
16. Matteo Baiocco (Ducati)
17. Ruban Xaus (Honda)
18. Roberto Rolfo (Kawasaki)
DNF Leon Haslam (BMW)
DNF Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki)
DNF Max Berger (Ducati)
Race 2
The second contest of the day started with Rea getting an excellent launch from second on the grid to lead the opening lap ahead of Laverty, Camier, Sykes, Checa and Haslam. Smrz, who finished seventh in Race 1, suffered an early incident that forced him to retire on the opening lap while Camier and Haga both made progress in the field to move into second and fourth, respectively. Sykes was the second victim of the race after he crashed out just seven laps into the battle. Just a few laps later, Haga was on the move again and overtook Camier for the runner-up position. On Lap 8 Checa also flew past the Brit for third, putting the prospective champ on the podium once again with half the race left.

For a time is was vets Troy Corser and Noriyuki Haga leading - SBK Race 1 Miller
Noriyuki Haga (#41) had his best performance of the season after scoring second place in both races.

On Lap 16 Checa caught up with Haga for second. Rea was well on his way to scoring his third win of the season and clenching his first double victory of the year when trouble began four laps from the end. Rea’s CBR1000RR began to lose speed and misfire, allowing Checa to take the lead for the first time in the contest on Lap 17. In the end the Irishman had to retire to the pits early where it was determined a poor battery connection was to blame.

Checa went on to score another win that put him just three points shy of claiming the WSB title. While the Spaniard hasn’t officially been crowned yet, it seems inevitable that the 38-year-old will celebrate his championship success during the penultimate round next week in France.

“It was a great weekend, mathematically we don’t have the title but it’s very close,” remarked Checa. “We feel it already, but especially we’re so enthusiastic for today’s win. It was a shame for Johnny, I think he deserved to win so we were a bit lucky, but this year has been going so good and to win here in Imola for us has been so good.”

Haga finished 4.6 seconds adrift of Checa to give the Japanese rider back to back runner-up finishes – the best result for Haga this season.

“Race 2 was very tough, I wasn’t as close to the leaders as in Race 1,” Haga said. “I changed the suspension settings from the first race, but again I made a mistake from the start. Then I consumed my tires to make up on the leaders, but I’m really happy for two podiums in one race.”

Meanwhile, Camier rebounded nicely from his 15th-place finish in the first race to score a podium result in third.

“We’ve had a really up and down season,” said Camier. “It’s good to get a podium for Aprilia, it’s an absolutely awesome feeling. These races and the season in general have been truly tiring, I’m exhausted!”

Laverty, Haslam, and Melandri placed fourth through sixth respectively, with Melandri narrowly keeping the series open after finishing more than 18 seconds behind Checa.

Imola Race 2 Results:
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
2. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia)
3. Leon Camier (Aprilia)
4. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha)
5. Leon Haslam (BMW)
6. Marco Melandri (Yamaha)
7. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati)
8. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki)

Aprilias Leon Camier made up for a poor start in the first race with a podium finish in the final contest at Imola.
Aprilia’s Leon Camier made up for a poor start in the first race with a podium finish in the final contest at Imola.

9. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki)
10. Aryton Badovini (BMW)
11. Ruben Xaus (Honda)
12. Federico Sandi (Ducati)
13. Max Berger (Ducati)
14. Javier Fores (BMW)
DNF Jonathan Rea (Honda)
DNF Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki)
DNF Troy Corser (BMW)
DNF Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
DNF Roberto Rolfo (Kawasaki)
DNF Jakub Smrz (Ducati)

2011 World Superbike Championship Points:
1. Carlos Checa, 417
2. Marco Melandri, 320
3. Max Biaggi, 281
4. Eugene Laverty, 256
5. Leon Haslam, 187
6. Leon Camier, 171
7. Sylvain Guintoli, 158
8. Noriyuki Haga, 155
9. Aryton Badovini, 147
10. Michel Fabrizio, 141

World Supersport
The 2011 World Supersport championship received a major surprise after Yamaha ParkinGO’s Chaz Davies suffered a mechanical late into the race. The Frenchman was leading the series by 59 points coming into Imola, but leaves the Italian circuit just 35 points ahead of the field after Hanspree Ten Kate Honda’s Fabien Foret scored the victory. Fabien was involved in a battle with Parkalgar Honda’s Sam Lowes and Kawasaki’s Broc Parkes, but he managed to breakthrough and put himself in position to capitalize on Davies’ misfortune with only four laps to go. In the end Foret took the checkers less than two-tenths of a second ahead of Lowes. Parkes claimed the final podium spot in third after staying consistent in the top-five throughout the race. Foret’s teammate, Florian Marino, scored fourth in the battle as Kawasaki’s David Salom made major progress to finish in fifth. Overall It was an exciting race with less than six seconds separating the top-five riders.

2011 World Supersport Imola Results:
1. Fabien Foret (Honda)
2. Sam Lowes (Honda)
3. Broc Parkes (Kawasaki)
4. Florian Marino (Honda)
5. David Salom (Kawasaki)

Hondas Fabien Foret took a major victory in Italy after championship leader Chaz Davies couldnt finish the race.
Honda’s Fabien Foret (#99) took a major victory in Italy after championship leader Chaz Davies couldn’t finish the race.

6. James Ellison (Honda)
7. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Kawasaki)
8. Miguel Praia (Honda)
9. Stefano Cruciani (Kawasaki)
10. Danilo Dell’Omo (Triumph)
11. Gino Rea (Honda)
12. Pawel Szkopek (Honda)
13. Patrick Vostarek (Honda)
14. Ondrej Jezek (Honda)
15. Imre Toth (Honda)

2011 World Supersport Championship Points:
1. Chaz Davies, 171
2. Fabien Foret, 136
3. David Salom, 123
4. Broc Parkes, 120
5. Sam Lowes, 109
6. Luca Scassa, 96
7. James Ellison, 72
8. Florian Marino, 71
9. Gino Rea, 67
10. Massimo Roccoli, 62

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