Tom Sykes claimed his maiden World Superbike win on a memorable day at the Nurburgring which also saw Carlos Checa move a step closer to being crowned champion. The Spaniard capitalised on the withdrawal of title rival Max Biaggi by winning the opening race before finishing a safe eighth in torrential conditions later in the day.
Biaggi was already facing an uphill task to hold on to his title, beginning this weekend 62 points in arrears, but an accident on Friday saw his chances of overhauling Checa virtually disappear. The Italian suffered a badly bruised foot after being struck by debris on Friday and although he managed to qualify on the front row, the pain proved strong enough to keep him out of both races.
Starting from pole position, Checa was expected to take his 11th win of the season and he duly did, although he was forced to fend off the charging Noriyuki Haga in the early stages before surging clear.
The two factory Yamahas enjoyed an entertaining battle for third after a mistake from Marco Melandri had brought Eugene Laverty onto his tail. Melandri managed to pull away from his younger teammate before snatching second from Haga five laps from home. Laverty finished a distant fourth while Leon Haslam recovered from an early trip through the gravel to take fifth from Sylvain Guintoli.
The conditions transformed completely for race two with sunshine replaced by heavy rain, making conditions nigh on impossible for the riders. Victory should have been Haga's with the PATA Aprilia man leading throughout, but just a lap before race direction called a halt to proceedings, Haga crashed out of the lead, promoting Sykes who had just made it past the Effenbert-Liberty Ducati of Guintoli.
As it turned out, Sykes only led a single lap but crucially, it was the last one. Guintoli was classified in second while teammate Jakub Smrz claimed the final place on the podium after Jonathan Rea slid off the track at turn one.
The Castrol Honda rider remounted to take fourth while Eugene Laverty was furious despite finishing fifth, feeling the organisers shouldn't have allowed the race to go ahead in such conditions. With Marco Melandri only sixth, eighth was more than good enough for Checa whose cautious approach paid dividends again.
With just three meetings, and six races remaining, Checa could mathematically clinch the championship in two weeks time at Imola. The Spaniard has to outscore Melandri by 24 points and Biaggi by five in order to seal the title with four races to spare.
Riders Championship (After Round 10: Germany)
|1||Carlos Checa||SPA||Ducati||Althea Racing||11||376|
|2||Marco Melandri||ITA||Yamaha||Yamaha World Superbike Team||3||302|
|3||Max Biaggi||ITA||Aprilia||Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team||2||281|
|4||Eugene Laverty||IRL||Yamaha||Yamaha World Superbike Team||2||232|
|5||Leon Haslam||GBR||BMW||BMW Motorrad Motorsport||176|
|6||Leon Camier||GBR||Aprilia||Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team||154|
|7||Michel Fabrizio||ITA||Suzuki||Team Suzuki Alstare||141|
|8||Sylvain Guintoli||FRA||Ducati||Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing||139|
|9||Ayrton Badovini||ITA||BMW||BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team||134|
|10||Noriyuki Haga||JAP||Aprilia||PATA Racing Team Aprilia||115|
|11||Tom Sykes||GBR||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||1||114|
|12||Jonathan Rea||GBR||Honda||Castrol Honda||1||113|
|13||Joan Lascorz||SPA||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||111|
|14||Jakub Smrz||CZE||Ducati||Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing||109|
|15||Troy Corser||AUS||BMW||BMW Motorrad Motorsport||67|
|16||Ruben Xaus||SPA||Honda||Castrol Honda||44|
|17||Maxime Berger||FRA||Ducati||Supersonic Racing Team||42|
|18||Roberto Rolfo||ITA||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini||39|
|19||Mark Aitchison||AUS||Kawasaki||Team Pedercini||24|
|20||John Hopkins||USA||Suzuki||Samsung Crescent Racing||20|
|21||Chris Vermeulen||AUS||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||14|
|22||James Toseland||GBR||BMW||BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team||13|
|23||Lorenzo Lanzi||ITA||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|