After two glorious days at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit at Imola, today’s World Superbike’s Race 1 was under cloudy skies and a stiff cold wind blowing, Italian bookies had given the odds that Althea’s Carlos Checa would win the race and the Spaniard decided to prove it true by taking the victory in an exciting race with numerous two-rider battles, several costly errors and a pair of scary crashes.

Pole man Tom Sykes got the lead with Checa and Biaggi immediately tailing him, while at the back of the grid saw the first incident that involved Leon Camier who tangled with Kawasaki’s Joan Lascorz, the Spaniard survived to continue while Camier’s Suzuki lay in the dust at turn 5. On lap 2 Effenbert Liberty’s Sylvian Guintoli tried to pass Max Biaggi at the Tamburello coming into hard contact with Leon Haslam, the Frenchman crossed the chicane and on re-entering lost control & highsided bringing down Chaz Davies with him.

Sykes continued leading for almost half the race distance with Carlos Checa playing elastic, but never really losing contact until lap 12 and at the bottom of the Acqua Minerale in a text book pass overtook the Kawasaki rider and then sprinted away leaving Sykes to take a comfortable second place. Max Biaggi struggled through the race losing contact with the two front runners but seemed safe for a third place podium, until a hard charging Haslam came up to the Aprilia rider and after nosing around the tail of the RSV4 for several laps decided to pass the Biaggi on the 16th lap, but the Italian regained the spot almost immediately, but at the Villeneuve repeated his pass which stuck and they crossed the finish line in that order, Haslam third and Biaggi fourth.

Eugene Laverty finished in fifth on the second factory Aprilia, after struggling in mid-race, but he recovered enough to fight off several riders for the postion. Marco Melandri rode to an excellent sixth after a false neutral in lap 2 would send him off on the run-off of the final chicane where he had to wait (there is a stop light) five seconds before re-joining the rest of the field in 16th. Melandri edged out Joan Lascorz (7th) and both got the best of an excellent Lorenzo Zanetti who fell back to 8th following excessive tire wear. A bruised Jonathan Rea was 9th, while Niccolò Canepa rounded out the top ten.

WSBK Imola Race 1 results:

1. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 38’06.264

2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 38’09.470

3. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 38’11.857

4. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 38’12.783

5. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 38’30.926

6. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 38’33.525

7. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 38’33.648

8. Lorenzo Zanetti (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 38’34.563

9. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 38’40.331

10. Niccolò Canepa (Red Devils Roma) Ducati 1098R 38’41.988

11. Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) Ducati 1098R 38’43.002

12. Maxime Berger (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 38’43.521

13. John Hopkins (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 38’56.682

14. Leandro Mercado (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 38’59.887

15. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 39’00.206

16. Brett McCormick (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) Ducati 1098R 39’00.403

17. Mark Aitchison (Grillini Progea Superbike Team) BMW S1000 RR 39’04.208

18. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 39’12.497

19. David Salom (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 38’08.075

RT. Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 14’55.953

RT. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 15’15.537

RT. Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’51.678

RT. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’53.395

RT. Leon Camier (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000

RT. Lorenzo Alfonsi (Team Pro Ride Real Game Honda) Honda CBR1000RR