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SBK Phillip Island Race Two: Checa Atones With Dominant Display

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Carlos Checa - Photo Credit: WorldSBK.com

Carlos Checa - Photo Credit: WorldSBK.com

 

Carlos Checa made amends for his race one mishap by totally dominating the second race of the afternoon at Phillip Island. However, just as he handed Max Biaggi victory earlier on, Checa's success owed much to his rival who threw away a potential win in the early stages.

Tom Sykes led away from pole position, as he had in race one, but in his eagerness to lead as early as possible, Biaggi went into turn one far too quickly and speared off onto the grass, fortunately missing the back of the Kawasaki. The Italian had fallen to the back of the field and it was left to Jonathan Rea and Checa to take the fight to Sykes.

Rea breezed through at the start of lap three but his time in front was as brief as Sykes' had been. Carlos Checa was in no mood to pass up this opportunity and dived up the inside of the Honda into turn four on the fifth lap. As far as the leading group was concerned, that was the last they saw of him.

Having stayed on the bike despite his early mishap, Biaggi was making rapid progress and by the time Checa had hit the front, he was already picking off the midfield runners. A fall for race one star Sylvain Guintoli moved him into the top ten on lap 10 and the Aprilia man disposed with a further three riders, including his teammate Eugene Laverty, on the next lap to jump up to seventh. The retirement of Joan Lascorz from fourth would promote him another place.

Next up the road was the sparring BMWs of Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam who were enjoying their own private battle for fourth. However, Biaggi's Aprilia was far too strong and he overwhelmed the S1000RRs in consecutive laps, leaving them to tussle over fifth instead.

Tom Sykes wasn't out of reach either and after reeling him in at two seconds per lap, Biaggi drafted past the Kawasaki on the start/finish straight with five laps to go. Jonathan Rea was only a second further up the road and duly lost his grip on second place by the time they arrived at the MG hairpin next time around.

There was no time to do anything about Checa though who eased to victory by just over five seconds but Sykes wasn't settling for fourth and managed to sneak past Rea on the run to the line, the second time the Ulsterman had lost a place within sight of the flag today.

The all-BMW fight for fifth came down in favour of Leon Haslam while Maxime Berger took a superb seventh after an impressive debut weekend with the Effenbert Liberty Ducati squad. Eugene Laverty rode through the pain to finish eight ahead of Hiroshi Aoyama while Leon Camier also opened his account for the new season after a solid ride to 12th.

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MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 and WorldSBK writer for The Checkered Flag. Contact: [email protected]
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