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 NiccolÃ² Canepa rounded out the top ten.
WSBK Imola Race 1 results:
1. Carlos Checaâ€ƒ(Althea Racing)â€ƒDucati 1098Râ€ƒ38’06.264
2. Tom Sykesâ€ƒ(Kawasaki Racing Team)â€ƒKawasaki ZX-10Râ€ƒ38’09.470
3. Leon Haslamâ€ƒ(BMW Motorrad Motorsport)â€ƒBMW S1000 RRâ€ƒ38’11.857
4. Max Biaggiâ€ƒ(Aprilia Racing Team)â€ƒAprilia RSV4 Factoryâ€ƒ38’12.783
5. Eugene Lavertyâ€ƒ(Aprilia Racing Team)â€ƒAprilia RSV4 Factoryâ€ƒ38’30.926
6. Marco Melandriâ€ƒ(BMW Motorrad Motorsport)â€ƒBMW S1000 RRâ€ƒ38’33.525
7. Joan Lascorzâ€ƒ(Kawasaki Racing Team)â€ƒKawasaki ZX-10Râ€ƒ38’33.648
8. Lorenzo Zanettiâ€ƒ(PATA Racing Team)â€ƒDucati 1098Râ€ƒ38’34.563
9. Jonathan Reaâ€ƒ(Honda World Superbike Team)â€ƒHonda CBR1000RRâ€ƒ38’40.331
10. NiccolÃ² Canepaâ€ƒ(Red Devils Roma)â€ƒDucati 1098Râ€ƒ38’41.988
11. Jakub Smrzâ€ƒ(Liberty Racing Team Effenbert)â€ƒDucati 1098Râ€ƒ38’43.002
12. Maxime Bergerâ€ƒ(Team Effenbert Liberty Racing)â€ƒDucati 1098Râ€ƒ38’43.521
13. John Hopkinsâ€ƒ(Crescent Fixi Suzuki)â€ƒSuzuki GSX-R1000â€ƒ38’56.682
14. Leandro Mercadoâ€ƒ(Team Pedercini)â€ƒKawasaki ZX-10Râ€ƒ38’59.887
15. Ayrton Badoviniâ€ƒ(BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet)â€ƒBMW S1000 RRâ€ƒ39’00.206
16. Brett McCormickâ€ƒ(Liberty Racing Team Effenbert)â€ƒDucati 1098Râ€ƒ39’00.403
17. Mark Aitchisonâ€ƒ(Grillini Progea Superbike Team)â€ƒBMW S1000 RRâ€ƒ39’04.208
18. Hiroshi Aoyamaâ€ƒ(Honda World Superbike Team)â€ƒHonda CBR1000RRâ€ƒ39’12.497
19. David Salomâ€ƒ(Team Pedercini)â€ƒKawasaki ZX-10Râ€ƒ38’08.075
RT. Michel Fabrizioâ€ƒ(BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet)â€ƒBMW S1000 RRâ€ƒ14’55.953
RT. Davide Giuglianoâ€ƒ(Althea Racing)â€ƒDucati 1098Râ€ƒ15’15.537
RT. Sylvain Guintoliâ€ƒ(Team Effenbert Liberty Racing)â€ƒDucati 1098Râ€ƒ1’51.678
RT. Chaz Daviesâ€ƒ(ParkinGO MTC Racing)â€ƒAprilia RSV4 Factoryâ€ƒ1’53.395
RT. Leon Camierâ€ƒ(Crescent Fixi Suzuki)â€ƒSuzuki GSX-R1000
RT. Lorenzo Alfonsiâ€ƒ(Team Pro Ride Real Game Honda)â€ƒHonda CBR1000RR