Carlos Checa took a giant step towards the 2011 Superbike World Championship with two more victories at Silverstone as his title rivals struggled. The Spaniard more than doubled his lead over Max Biaggi who endured a miserable weekend in Northamptonshire.
Checa had to come from behind in both races as Eugene Laverty put up a spirited challenge on the factory Yamaha. The Irishman led the opening stages of both races but was reeled in by the Althea Ducati which proved to have too much pace for the YZF-R1, denying Laverty a home victory.
Silverstone proved to be a weekend of milestones as Ducati passed 300 Superbike victories with Checa bringing up a century of WSBK races, and the 38 year old admitted it was a special day in what is proving to be a memorable season.
“It was a wonderful day. I didn't believe that it would be possible to win here, but we managed to do it twice over! To achieve the 300th win for Ducati is an important result and we are all very happy to have been able to repeat this in race two. I thank everyone involved, my team, Ducati and all the sponsors. I also heard that I have now completed 100 SBK races. I didn't know this but the important thing is that I still feel young and am not yet 100 years old! We have a good advantage for now but as we all know, it is hard to build up points and easy to lose them. We now head to tracks where I have had some good results in the past but we are taking it one step at a time; nothing is a given. It's been a fantastic weekend that I will remember forever. Now the team can go on holiday in a more relaxed state of mind.”
Checa's double success has piled the pressure on Max Biaggi who didn't stand on the podium in either race. After starting from 11th place, the reigning champion ended race one in exactly the same position before improving in race two, although he only made it as high as fourth.
Instead it was the third title contender, Marco Melandri who kept pace with Checa with a brace of podium finishes. The Italian followed home his teammate in race one before fending off the two Alitalia Aprilias in race to move to within nine points of Biaggi in the race for series runner-up.
After his spectacular performance in Superpole, John Hopkins wasn't quite able to translate his pole position into a podium on race day. The American, who has been riding as a wildcard with the Crescent Suzuki squad that has taken him to two BSB wins, took a solid fifth behind Leon Haslam in the first race, despite a brake problem, before taking seventh in the second.
Behind Laverty, Haslam's fourth in race one was as good as it got for the British contingent although Leon Camier came within 0.730s of a podium in race two. James Toseland marked his return to racing with two points finishes on his BMW S1000RR while Jon Kirkham also finished in the top 15 to complete a solid debut on the world stage for the BSB regular.
Another rider plying his trade in the British Superbike Championship is Alex Lowes but the Lincolnshire youngster failed to make the finish on his second weekend with Castrol Honda. Tom Sykes was planning to make a BSB appearance himself next weekend but the Kawasaki man was forced to withdraw from today's races and the Brands Hatch meeting after hurting his ankle in free practice.
Riders Championship (After Round 9: Great Britain)
|1||Carlos Checa||SPA||Ducati||Althea Racing||10||343|
|2||Max Biaggi||ITA||Aprilia||Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team||2||281|
|3||Marco Melandri||ITA||Yamaha||Yamaha World Superbike Team||3||272|
|4||Eugene Laverty||IRL||Yamaha||Yamaha World Superbike Team||2||208|
|5||Leon Haslam||GBR||BMW||BMW Motorrad Motorsport||158|
|6||Leon Camier||GBR||Aprilia||Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team||146|
|7||Michel Fabrizio||ITA||Suzuki||Team Suzuki Alstare||141|
|8||Ayrton Badovini||ITA||BMW||BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team||118|
|9||Sylvain Guintoli||FRA||Ducati||Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing||109|
|10||Noriyuki Haga||JAP||Aprilia||PATA Racing Team Aprilia||99|
|11||Joan Lascorz||SPA||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||97|
|12||Jonathan Rea||GBR||Honda||Castrol Honda||1||94|
|13||Jakub Smrz||CZE||Ducati||Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing||93|
|14||Tom Sykes||GBR||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||84|
|15||Troy Corser||AUS||BMW||BMW Motorrad Motorsport||62|
|16||Ruben Xaus||SPA||Honda||Castrol Honda||44|
|17||Maxime Berger||FRA||Ducati||Supersonic Racing Team||36|
|18||Roberto Rolfo||ITA||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini||34|
|19||John Hopkins||USA||Suzuki||Samsung Crescent Racing||20|
|20||Mark Aitchison||AUS||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini||20|
|21||Chris Vermeulen||AUS||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||14|
|22||Lorenzo Lanzi||ITA||BMW||BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team||10|
|23||James Toseland||GBR||BMW||BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team||10|
|24||Josh Waters||AUS||Suzuki||Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team||8|
|25||Matteo Baiocco||ITA||Ducati||Barni Racing Team||4|
|26||Alessandro Polita||ITA||Ducati||Barni Racing Team S.N.C||3|
|27||Barry Veneman||NED||BMW||BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team||3|
|28||Jon Kirkham||GBR||Suzuki||Samsung Crescent Racing||3|
|29||Viktor Kispataki||HUN||Honda||Prop-tech Ltd.||1|
|30||Alex Lowes||GBR||Honda||Castrol Honda||1|
|31||Fabrizio Lai||ITA||Honda||Echo Sport Racing Company||1|
|32||Bryan Staring||AUS||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini||1|