Donington (UK), Sunday 27 March 2011 – The two riders who won races at Donington today, Carlos Checa and
Marco Melandri, are the two who leave at the head of the championship chase, with Checa now on 91 points and Melandri on 72. Superpole winner Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) used his experience to change his rear tyre choice for race two and improve from a third place to be a clear winner, while Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) made two great recoveries from a third row start to post a win and a second place. Jakub Smrz (Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati) nearly won the first race, with the local fans having something to cheer about as Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) went third in race two, to make up for a hard first round in Australia that was badly affected by illness. 2010 World Champion Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) had his drama-laden weekend turn into a mini-crisis as he finished only seventh in race one, and was excluded from race two after jump starting and failing to come in for a ride-through penalty. In the overall championship third place belongs to Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) on 53 points after two fourths today, while Biaggi has 49 points in fourth overall.
New rider to WSBK racing Melandri took only three races to record his first win, finally overhauling long time leader Smrz to win by 2.455 seconds. The last podium place went to Checa after he passed local hero Haslam with two corners to go. Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) scored fifth and Noriyuki Haga (Pata Racing Aprilia) was sixth, one place up on the factory bike of Biaggi. A potentially great finish for Tom Sykes and his Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike machine ended in a crash at the redesigned Esses section, but the home crowd were to have a podium star to cheer for in race two.
Marco Melandri: “It has been an awesome race for me, very tough and at the start many guys were very aggressive. I kept my rhythm and when I got on my own I caught Camier and some others then it took some time to get to Haslam. After that it was only a few laps to go and Kuba was pretty far ahead. I just kept the best pace I could and in the end Smrz’s pace was gone and I passed him. We missed a little bit of top speed but the package was very balanced, we won and I had a lot of fun.”
Jakub Smrz: “Of course I am disappointed to not win the race but it was really nice and I am back on the podium, which is important. The feeling all the race was very good and the bike was perfect, in the end my rear tyre was gone and I could not push any more. Marco passed me and I did not want to risk anything in the end.”
Carlos Checa: “I had some issues with the rear tyre grip at the beginning of the race, and I lost some positions, touched with other riders and it ended up as one of my most exciting races from the back to the front. Finally I arrived to Haslam after I had pushed to my maximum and I passed him when I had the opportunity. It was the last lap and I got third position.”
Results: 1. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 34’33.189 (160,673 kph); 2. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 2.455; 3. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 5.839; 4. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 6.176; 5. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 9.039; 6. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 9.215; 7. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 9.960; 8. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 14.860; 9. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 14.877; 10. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 16.182; 11. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 25.820; 12. Xaus R. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 28.378; 13. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 31.869; 14. Rolfo R. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 40.015; 15. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’00.128; etc.
Checa controlled race two from the early laps and won by 3.397 seconds from race one victor Melandri. Camier was a contender for second for long periods, before Melandri upped the pace and left him behind. Another Leon, this time Haslam went fourth for the second time today, despite running off track at one point. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) was a great fifth on the new ZX-10R machine, despite not yet being at full fitness. With Rea sixth for Honda and race one retiree Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) seventh in race two there were seven different manufacturers represented in the top seven places, proving how competitive the 2011 season is after only two rounds.
Carlos Checa: “It is a fantastic beginning to the season, especially this victory in Donington, which is something special. Basically we decided to put on a different tyre with better grip at the beginning, so now I was stable and had good grip. At the end the tyre dropped down a little but it was good enough. Everybody knows what happened here to me many years ago, when I lost something so now I’m quite satisfied to win at Donington!”
Marco Melandri: “It was a pretty good race for me. Leon was very fast, about 50% of the race I was coughing in my helmet and finding it hard to breathe so I lost my concentration. After that I recovered, I did my best and passed Leon again but Carlos was just too fast for me.”
Leon Camier: “I can’t believe it’s happened. I started the year with glandular fever, which got me down a bit after all the hard work over the winter and to come here and get a podium at my home race is absolutely awesome. In the first race we had a few problems with the settings, so we changed it for the second one and it seemed to work well. It was a good battle with Marco, he was very strong, but to get third place is great.”
Results: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 34’21.537 (161,581 kph); 2. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 3.397; 3. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 5.902; 4. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 13.842; 5. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 14.253; 6. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 19.413; 7. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 20.278; 8. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 21.160; 9. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 24.298; 10. Xaus R. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 24.907; 11. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 32.440; 12. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 32.679; 13. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 34.070; 14. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 36.418; 15. Rolfo R. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 44.037; 16. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 52.412; etc.
Points (after 2 rounds of 13): 1. Checa 91; 2. Melandri 72; 3. Haslam 53; 4. Biaggi 49; 5. Smrz 42; 6. Rea 38; 7. Camier 37; 8. Fabrizio 27; 9. Haga 26; 10. Sykes 19; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 95; 2. Yamaha 74; 3. Aprilia 66; 4. BMW 53; 5. Honda 38; 6. Kawasaki 32; 7. Suzuki 27.
Yamaha ParkinGO riders Luca Scassa and Chaz Davies contested the win in the 22-lap Supersport race, with Davies 0.270 seconds down at the flag. Behind, Gino Rea took the final podium place for his Step Racing Honda team, as Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Honda) went fourth and Kawasaki Motocard.com rider Broc Parkes secured fifth place. Broc’s team-mate David Salom went sixth and the leading Kawasaki interest in the championship extended to a trio when Massimo Roccoli (Lorenzini by Leoni) went seventh. Rookie Florian Mario (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was eighth, one place up on Roccoli’s team-mate Vittorio Iannuzzo. The top ten was rounded out by Swedish rider Alex Lundh (Cresto Guide Racing Team Honda).
Results: 1. Scassa L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 33’40.762 (157,674 kph); 2. Davies C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 0.270; 3. Rea G. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 20.374; 4. Harms R. (DEN) Honda CBR600RR 23.469; 5. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 24.872; 6. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 32.001; 7. Roccoli M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 42.128; 8. Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 43.826; etc.
Points (after 2 rounds of 13): 1. Scassa 50; 2. Parkes 31; 3. Harms 24; 4. Salom 23; 5. Davies 20; 6. Marino 17; 7. Rea 16; 8. Lowes 16; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Yamaha 50; 2. Honda 32; 3. Kawasaki 31; 4. Triumph 7.