Carlos Checa - Photo Credit: Althea Racing

Carlos Checa - Photo Credit: Althea Racing

 

After a season full of outstanding victories, Carlos Checa was forced to rely on the mechanical misfortune of others to win the second race of the day at Imola. The Spaniard was lying a distant second before Jonathan Rea's Castrol Honda broke down, wiping out his 3.5s deficit.

Rea had looked poised to take his first double-victory since Assen 2010 after a cracking start got him into Tamburello ahead of Eugene Laverty, Leon Camier, Tom Sykes and Checa. Initially the front two looked to be breaking away but Laverty soon fell back into the chasing pack before succumbing to Camier at Tosa on lap four.

Despite dropping to seventh after a poor start, Noriyuki Haga roared back into contention and brought Checa along with him. On lap five, the Japanese rider moved from fourth to second in the space of a few corners while Checa capitalised on Laverty's loss of momentum to take fourth at the Variante Bassa. Try as he might, Camier couldn't hold back Checa's Althea Ducati and the inevitable happened on lap eight as Checa dived through at Tamburello.

With Checa catching Haga for second, attentions turned to title rival Melandri, currently lying sixth, who was likely to need a finish of 14th or better to keep the championship alive. That suddenly became a tough challenge as the Italian slid off the track at Acqua Minerale. Thankfully for Yamaha, he made it back onto the track in 12th allowing them to breathe again.

The picture would change dramatically on lap 16 though as Checa passed Haga at the Variante Bassa and moments later, Rea's Honda slowed to a crawl with a CBR1000RR that continued to cut out. Checa was now in the lead, and Melandri now needed to finish ninth to deny the Ducati rider the title, and he had only made it up to tenth.

Thankfully for Melandri, Rea's problem hindered him so much that he was forced to retire, and after overtaking Alessandro Polita, he was back into eighth. On the penultimate lap, Melandri also disposed of Sylvain Guintoli and Joan Lascorz to finish sixth, forcing Checa to wait another week for his crowning moment.

Checa left Haga behind to win by 4.631s while Camier's strong start was rewarded with a podium. For the second time today, Laverty was forced to hold off Leon Haslam who kept his BMW upright this time. The Irishman clung on to fifth with Haslam sixth ahead of Melandri, Guintoli and Lascorz.

 

Lap Leaders:

Rea (1-16), Checa (17-21)

 

Riders Championship (After Round 11: Imola)

Pos Rider Nat Bike Team Wins Pts
1 Carlos Checa SPA Ducati Althea Racing 12 417
2 Marco Melandri ITA Yamaha Yamaha World Superbike Team 3 320
3 Max Biaggi ITA Aprilia Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 2 281
4 Eugene Laverty IRL Yamaha Yamaha World Superbike Team 2 256
5 Leon Haslam GBR BMW BMW Motorrad Motorsport 187
6 Leon Camier GBR Aprilia Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 171
7 Sylvain Guintoli FRA Ducati Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing 158
8 Noriyuki Haga JAP Aprilia PATA Racing Team Aprilia 155
9 Michel Fabrizio ITA Suzuki Team Suzuki Alstare 141
10 Ayrton Badovini ITA BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team 134
11 Jonathan Rea GBR Honda Castrol Honda 2 138
12 Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Kawasaki Racing Team 1 127
13 Joan Lascorz SPA Kawasaki Kawasaki Racing Team 125
14 Jakub Smrz CZE Ducati Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing 118
15 Troy Corser AUS BMW BMW Motorrad Motorsport 71
16 Ruben Xaus SPA Honda Castrol Honda 49
17 Maxime Berger FRA Ducati Supersonic Racing Team 45
18 Roberto Rolfo ITA Kawasaki Team Pedercini 39
19 Mark Aitchison AUS Kawasaki Team Pedercini 36
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 Federico Sandi SPA Ducati Althea Racing 7
26 Alessandro Polita ITA Ducati Barni Racing Team S.N.C 5
27 Matteo Baiocco ITA Ducati Barni Racing Team 4
28 Barry Veneman NED BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team 3
29 Jon Kirkham GBR Suzuki Samsung Crescent Racing 3
30 Javier Fores SPA BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team 2
31 Viktor Kispataki HUN Honda Prop-tech Ltd. 1
32 Alex Lowes GBR Honda Castrol Honda 1
33 Fabrizio Lai ITA Honda Echo Sport Racing Company 1
34 Bryan Staring AUS Kawasaki Team Pedercini 1