Carlos Checa laid down a marker for this year's World Superbike Championship by completing an impressive double win at Phillip Island.
The Althea Racing rider once again dominated the proceedings at the tight and twisty Australian circuit, following his earlier victory, to clinch his seventh World Superbike career victory. The Spaniard was hardly pressured during the race, as he led home reigning world champion Max Biaggi for the second time this season.
BMW's Leon Haslam made the best getaway from the line and led Checa, as the field entered the first corner. The pair swapped places twice before the Althea Racing rider slowly began to pull away from the pack.
The battle for second spot proved to be a fierce one, with Haslam, Biaggi, Troy Corser, Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty involved in a monumental squabble.
The pace of the Aprilia allowed Biaggi to eventually move into second and he was joined by he pursuing Melandri in third. The Italian duo diced for the majority of the race, trading places on several occasions, but it was Biaggi, who grabbed second place at the chequered flag. Jonathan Rea came home in fourth, courtesy of a last gasp move to pass Haslam.
However, arguably the ride of the day belonged to Biaggi's team mate Leon Camier, who snatched sixth spot on the final lap, despite battling glandular fever.
Despite another comfortable win Checa admitted the victory was far from easy but was overjoyed with his start to the new season.
He said: “It wasn't easy but I managed the situation and we did it. A really great weekend in which we dominated from start to finish. We were also lucky with the weather, we couldn't have asked for a better start.”
Reigning world champion Biaggi was pleased with another podium considering the strength of the competition.
Biaggi: “We are very happy. Two second place finishes is a very good result. The atmosphere among my team is very good and we will continue to work hard. It's good to be racing with Marco (Melandri) and it's nice to Leon Haslam there on the BMW, there is good competition.”
A delighted Melandri was more than pleased with a hard fought third place and he believes shot at this year's title is on the cards.
He said: “It's been an amazing day for me. Race one was pretty good but I didn't have a good feeling with the bike. We sat down with the team and they made good changes and I could ride so much stronger in the second race. I've got a podium and I'm feeling good about my championship chances.”
World Superbike Round 1 Race 2 Results:
1. Carlos Checa ESP Althea Ducati 1098R 34mins 15.041sâ€¨
2. Max Biaggi ITA Aprilia Alitalia Racing RSV-4 +1.188sâ€¨
3. Marco Melandri ITA Yamaha WSBK YZF R1 +1.406sâ€¨
4. Jonathan Rea GBR Castrol Honda CBR1000RR +10.563sâ€¨
5. Leon Haslam GBR BMW Motorrad S1000RR +10.885sâ€¨
6. Leon Camier GBR Aprilia Alitalia Racing RSV-4 +16.914sâ€¨
7. Noriyuki Haga JPN PATA Aprilia RSV-4 +17.558sâ€¨
8. Michel Fabrizio ITA Suzuki Alstare GSX-R1000 +17.679sâ€¨
9. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki RTS ZX-10R +18.070sâ€¨
10. Ruben Xaus ESP Castrol Honda CBR1000RR +19.053sâ€¨
11. Jakub Smrz CZE Effenbert Liberty Ducati 1098R +19.060sâ€¨
12. Roberto Rolfo ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +23.771sâ€¨
13. Josh Waters AUS Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 +23.956sâ€¨
14. James Toseland GBR BMW Italia S1000RR +28.713sâ€¨
15. Eugene Laverty IRL Yamaha WSBK YZF R1 +32.673s
16. Mark Aitchison AUS Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +33.226sâ€¨
17. Bryan Staring AUS Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +42.598sâ€¨
18. Maxime Berger FRA Supersonic Ducati 1098R +51.819sâ€¨
19. Troy Corser AUS BMW Motorrad S1000RR +55.738s
20. Joan Lascorz ESP Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 14 laps completedâ€¨
21. Ayrton Badovini ITA BMW Italia S1000RR 0 laps completed