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WSBK Portimao: Yamaha Sign Off In Style With 1-2 In Finale

Marco Melandri - Photo Credit: WSBK

Marco Melandri - Photo Credit: WSBK


Yamaha
bowed out of World Superbikes in the grand manner with a 1-2 finish in the final race of the season at Portimao. The Japanese manufacturer announced in August that they were withdrawing their factory support of the championship but Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty, both secure of their 2012 rides elsewhere, gave them the perfect farewell gift.

Jonathan Rea led away from pole position but Laverty stormed past him when they returned to the start/finish straight, outbraking him into turn one. Third placed Melandri repeated the move at the start of lap six before shadowing his teammate, waiting for the moment to pass.

The moment came on lap 19 as the Italian dived up the inside of Laverty into turn five before pulling out a one second lead before the chequered flag. Laverty had his work cut out in the closing stages as Rea set his sights on second but the Irishman held on to give Yamaha their 1-2.

Rea finished third while the new world champion Carlos Checa ended his triumphant season with fourth ahead of Sylvain Guintoli and the Alitalia Aprilias of Leon Camier and outgoing champion Max Biaggi.

Checa wouldn't end the year without at least one victory though and the Spaniard duly took his 2011 winning tally to 15 after a late overtaking move on long-time leader Guintoli. The Effenbert-Liberty Ducati rider took over from Jonathan Rea at the start of lap three but succumbed to the pressure from Checa on lap 19.

Having taken third in the second race, Rea ended the day with a brace of podium finishes and finished comfortably clear of Max Biaggi, Joan Lascorz and Marco Melandri in race one. While he wasn't at his best, Biaggi will have been glad to be back after missing three events with the injury picked up in practice at the Nurburgring.

Fifth was a standout result for Lascorz who set the fastest lap on the way to matching his best result all season. Teammate Tom Sykes had a mixed day as he finished a strong eighth in race one before failing to complete race two. Leon Haslam had a disappointing end to the year though with ninth in race one and a solitary point in race two.

Although he didn't make the final podium of the year, the 2011 season belongs to Carlos Checa who ended the season with an astonishing victory margin of 110 points, with Melandri second and Biaggi taking third by virtue of nine second place finishes to Eugene Laverty's three.

 

Riders Championship (Final Standings)

Pos Rider Nat Bike Team Wins Pts
(C) Carlos Checa SPA Ducati Althea Racing 15 505
2 Marco Melandri ITA Yamaha Yamaha World Superbike Team 4 395
3 Max Biaggi ITA Aprilia Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 2 303
4 Eugene Laverty IRL Yamaha Yamaha World Superbike Team 2 303
5 Leon Haslam GBR BMW BMW Motorrad Motorsport 224
6 Sylvain Guintoli FRA Ducati Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing 210
7 Leon Camier GBR Aprilia Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 208
8 Noriyuki Haga JAP Aprilia PATA Racing Team Aprilia 176
9 Jonathan Rea GBR Honda Castrol Honda 2 170
10 Ayrton Badovini ITA BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team 165
11 Joan Lascorz SPA Kawasaki Kawasaki Racing Team 161
12 Michel Fabrizio ITA Suzuki Team Suzuki Alstare 152
13 Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Kawasaki Racing Team 1 141
14 Jakub Smrz CZE Ducati Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing 127
15 Troy Corser AUS BMW BMW Motorrad Motorsport 87
16 Maxime Berger FRA Ducati Supersonic Racing Team 64
17 Ruben Xaus SPA Honda Castrol Honda 49
18 Roberto Rolfo ITA Kawasaki Team Pedercini 42
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 Javier Fores SPA BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team 12
24 Lorenzo Lanzi ITA BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team 10
25 Josh Waters AUS Suzuki Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team 8
26 Federico Sandi SPA Ducati Althea Racing 7
27 Alessandro Polita ITA Ducati Barni Racing Team S.N.C 5
28 Davide Giugliano ITA Ducati Althea Racing 4
29 Matteo Baiocco ITA Ducati Barni Racing Team 4
30 Barry Veneman NED BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team 3
31 Jon Kirkham GBR Suzuki Samsung Crescent Racing 3
32 Viktor Kispataki HUN Honda Prop-tech Ltd. 1
33 Alex Lowes GBR Honda Castrol Honda 1
34 Fabrizio Lai ITA Honda Echo Sport Racing Company 1
35 Bryan Staring AUS Kawasaki Team Pedercini 1