Carlos Checa (#7) posted two solid performances at Phillip Island to secure the double victory ahead of Max Biaggi.
’s Carlos Checa
put the 2011 World Superbike
paddock on notice with a crushing double victory in the opening round of the series at Phillip Island. Making use of his pole position, the Spaniard controlled both contests ahead of Max Biaggi
, finishing the first race by a margin of more than 4.3 seconds over the 2010 World Champion.
In the first match of the day Yamaha
’s Eugene Laverty held the lead early, but only for a moment as Checa overtook the World Superbike rookie on Lap 3.
“Here we have something extra, maybe the bike works really well at this track and I like it as well," said Checa in a post-race press release. "We did a great job in testing, practice and qualifying but you never know, conditions can change. I started well and made a gap, controlled the race, went fast lap by lap, but it’s a fantastic winning start for me and the team.”
Meanwhile, Biaggi was unable to match the brisk pace set by Checa, and had to settle for runner-up status.
Max Biaggi had to settle for runner-up to Checa, but overall the Italian experienced a strong start to his 2011 campaign.
“A very good result because the last two years at Phillip Island we were struggling and far behind," Biaggi said. "The Twins are always a bit better on this track but I don’t want to take anything away from Checa, he did a fantastic race. We did our best, I came close at some stage but my wheel was spinning so I couldn’t go faster."
Despite struggles during recent pre-season tests, BMW
’s Leon Haslam pulled a podium finish in the first race. The Brit posted great defense against Laverty and his Yamaha teammate, Marco Melandri, who were swapping fourth-place up until the finish line when Laverty made his pass stick.
“A third place is like a win for me at this stage, we’ve come on a lot this last week and the boys have worked fantastic," said Haslam. "I’m looking forward to having a look at the data because we had a few issues and still managed to get on the podium. Hopefully the team can work its magic in Race 2.”
rider Michel Fabrizio finished sixth after making a strong recovery ahead of Liberty Racing’s Jakub Smrz. Castrol Honda
’s Jonathan Rea suffered a brief off-track excursion while running sixth in the order. The mistake left the Irishman well off pace, and he finished 12th in his first official outing of 2011. The first race was a major disappointment for Liberty Ducati’s Sylvain Guintoli, who crashed out and injured his hand, knee and shoulder-blade. Due to the extent of his injuries, the Frenchman was forced to call it quits for the second race of the day.
2011 World Superbike Phillip Island Race 1 Results:
BMW's Leon Haslam claimed third during the first contest, giving the German team renewed faith for the 2011 season.
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
3. Leon Haslam (BMW)
4. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha)
5. Marco Melandri (Yamaha)
6. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki)
7. Jakub Smrz (Ducati)
8. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
9. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia)
10. Troy Corser (BMW)
11. Roberto Rolfo (Kawasaki)
12. Jonathan Rea (Honda)
13. Leon Camier (Aprilia)
14. Ayrton Badovini (BMW)
15. Bryan Staring (Kawasaki)
The second race witnessed Checa register another impressive victory. This time, however, the Spaniard was met with more opposition from Biaggi as the duo finished less than two seconds from each other.
Yamaha's Marco Melandri (#33) went 5-3 during his debut performance in World Superbike.
“It wasn’t easy at all," said Checa. "I went into first position as soon as I could, but Haslam was not easy to pass at all. From there I tried to make my place on the track, but I know they were fighting behind me and two seconds lead wasn’t perfect. This is the best start for me, 50 points here in Australia.”
“Two second places in Australia is a very good result," Biaggi said. "It’s good to come back here after we struggled the last two years. Thanks to my team and crew, we’ve been working very well these days. It was good battling with Marco, the Yamaha has potential and I think they can do a good race, and Haslam as well. It makes it better for the competition.”
rider last year, Melandri saw terrific improvement from his first result of the day, and the WSB rookie landed a podium finish in only his second World Superbike race.
“It’s been an amazing day for me after not such a good Race 1," said Melandri. "I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike so we sat down with our team and they made a good job on the bike for Race 2. I could ride so much stronger, I started more aggressive, and it felt very good to be back on the podium after such a long time, I’m just a bit disappointed not to beat Max for second place.”
Also improving his initial race result was Rea, who earned fourth across the line more than 10 seconds adrift of Checa. Haslam followed up his podium finish in Race 1 with a solid top-five performance in Race 2.
With Checa snagging the first two wins of the season he has already generated a 10-point lead over Biaggi in the series.
2011 World Superbike Phillip Island Race 2 Results:
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
3. Marco Melandri (Yamaha)
4. Jonathan Rea (Honda)
5. Leon Haslam (BMW)
Castrol Honda's Jonathan Rea regrouped after his crashes in practice and took fourth during Race 2.
6. Leon Camier (Aprilia)
7. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia)
8. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki)
9. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
10. Ruben Xaus (Honda)
11. Jakub Smrz (Ducati)
12. Roberto Rolfo (Kawasaki)
13. Josh Waters (Suzuki)
14. James Toseland (BMW)
15. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha)
2011 World Superbike Championship Results:
1. Carlos Checa, 50
2. Max Biaggi, 40
3. Marco Melandri, 27
4. Leon Haslam, 27
5. Michel Fabrizio, 18
6. Jonathan Rea, 17
7. Noriyuki Haga, 16
8. Tom Sykes, 15
9. Eugene Laverty, 14
10. Jakub Smrz, 14
ParkinGO Yamaha’s Luca Scassa scored a major victory in the opening round of the World Supersport series. The Italian just squeezed across the finish line with only 0.009 seconds to spare ahead of Kawasaki’s Broc Parkes. Rounding out the podium during the start of his first full season in World Supersport was Parkalgar Honda’s Sam Lowes, who led into the final turn before being overcome by Scassa and Parkes. It was an extremely tight match with the top-three riders separated by less than three-tenths of a second.
Parkalgar Honda's Sam Lowes earned third during his debut season in the World Supersport Championship.
“I was fast going into the final corner, but slow coming out,” said Lowes. “I think if had come out of the final corner behind Scassa I would not have been able to pass him before the line. The only way to win was to pass him into Turn 9 and then push hard, and it nearly worked. I am satisfied to make my mark in the class at the start and it is a confidence booster for me to finish on the podium.”
Kawasaki’s David Salom started from pole position and was in the lead for multiple laps of the contest before finishing fourth. Privateer Robbin Harms grabbed fifth across the line, while James Ellison fought his way into a top-six finish despite having a knee operation only a few days ago.
2011 World Supersport Phillip Island Results:
1. Luca Scassa (Yamaha)
2. Broc Parkes (Kawasaki)
3. Sam Lowes (Honda)
4. David Salom (Kawasaki)
5. Robbin Harms (Honda)
6. James Ellison (Honda)
7. Florian Marino (Honda)
8. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Kawasaki)
9. Alexander Lundh (Honda)
10. Danilo Dell’Omo (Triumph)
11. Ronan Quarmby (Triumph)
12. Ondrej Jezek (Honda)
13. Bastien Chesaux (Honda)
14. Balazs Nemeth (Honda)
15. Imre Toth (Honda)
2011 World Supersport Championship Points:
1. Luca Scassa, 25
2. Broc Parkes, 20
3. Sam Lowes, 16
4. David Salom, 13
5. Robbin Harms, 11
6. James Ellison, 10
7. Florian Marino, 9
8. Vittorio Iannuzzo, 8
9. Alexander Lundh, 7
10. Danilo Dell’Omo, 6