Sunday, February 27, 2011

Checa holds off Biaggi to claim pole!!!

Carlos Checa claimed the first Superpole of the 2011 World Superbike season, albeit by just 0.013secs from Max Biaggi, at Phillip Island!!!

The Spaniard has utterly dominated the Australian curtain raiser thus far, but came remarkably close to being toppled by a charging Biaggi, the Italian getting nearest to his former MotoGP rival than any other rider so far.
Indeed, while Checa was comfortably quickest during SP1 and SP2, it was Biaggi that laid down the gauntlet in the deciding session with a lap record breaking 1min 30.895secs.
With Checa aborting his first fast lap, there looked to be the distinct possibility that the reigning champion would cause an ‘upset’. However, despite being down on his rival during the early sectors, Checa hauled it back to nose ahead by less than two hundredths of a second.
Though it was markedly slower than the 1min 30.578secs he managed during testing earlier in the week, Checa Superpole effort of 1min 30.882secs was still sufficient to slice two tenths off Regis Laconi’s two year-old record.
Almost four tenths back, Effenbert-Liberty Ducati scored a front row start for its WSBK debut thanks to Sylvain Guintoli, the Frenchman maintaining his strong form so far this weekend to put himself in a strong position to record an elusive maiden WSBK podium.
Having suffered with set-up issues in testing, BMW put on a show of strength in Superpole as both Leon Haslam and Troy Corser defied expectations to reach SP3. Haslam would go on to secure a front row start on his BMW debut in fourth position, while local favourite Corser – who holds the race record around Phillip Island – is seventh.
There were also smiles in the Yamaha camp as Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri quickly adapted to the ‘alien’ Superpole format to claim fifth and eighth respectively. An excellent result for Laverty ahead of his WSBK debut, Melandri’s performance was also noteworthy having very nearly been bundled out during SP1.
Jakub Smrz will join the pair on row two in sixth position, the Czech rider doing a mighty job to even make it into SP3 just minutes earlier in SP2.
There was less luck for Jonathan Rea however, whose bruising week continued in the same vein during Superpole. The Castrol Honda rider fell at the final bend during SP2, badly damaging his number one bike.
Though he did rush back to the pit lane in time to jump on the spare machine, Rea one-shot lap at the death wasn’t enough to lift him any higher than 12th position.
He will be joined on the third row by Michel Fabrizio in ninth position, Tom Sykes in tenth, the Kawasaki man unable to repeat his run to third during Q2, and Josh Waters in 11th on the wild-card Yoshimura Suzuki.
Earlier on in the session, there was further disappointment for Kawasaki as Joan Lascorz’s first Superpole appearance proved a disappointing experience when he was bumped out of contention during SP1, leaving him 13th on the grid for his WSBK debut.
He was joined in the drop zone by Noriyuki Haga, James Toseland and Ruben Xaus, who will start Sunday’s two races in 14th, 15th and 16th respectively.

Full Qualifying Result!!!

1. Carlos Checa ESP Althea Ducati 1098R 1min 30.882s
2. Max Biaggi ITA Aprilia Alitalia Racing RSV-4 1min 30.895s
3. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Effenbert Liberty Ducati 1098R 1min 31.293s
4. Leon Haslam GBR BMW Motorrad S1000RR 1min 31.429s
5. Eugene Laverty IRL Yamaha WSBK YZF R1 1min 31.858s
6. Jakub Smrz CZE Effenbert Liberty Ducati 1098R 1min 31.980s
7. Troy Corser AUS BMW Motorrad S1000RR 1min 32.182s
8. Marco Melandri ITA Yamaha WSBK YZF R1 1min 32.662s
9. Michel Fabrizio ITA Suzuki Alstare GSX-R1000 1min 32.153s
10. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki RTS ZX-10R 1min 32.204s
11. Josh Waters AUS Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 1min 32.240s
12. Jonathan Rea GBR Castrol Honda CBR1000RR 1min 32.708s
13. Joan Lascorz ESP Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 1min 32.346s
14. Noriyuki Haga JPN PATA Aprilia RSV-4 1min 32.391s
15. James Toseland GBR BMW Italia S1000RR 1min 32.547s
16. Ruben Xaus ESP Castrol Honda CBR1000RR 1min 32.788s
Grid positions determined by Q2 times
17. Leon Camier GBR Aprilia Alitalia Racing RSV-4 1min 32.847s
18. Bryan Staring AUS Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1min 32.883s
19. Maxime Berger FRA Supersonic Ducati 1098R 1min 33.079s
20. Ayrton Badovini ITA BMW Italia S1000RR 1min 33.161s
21. Roberto Rolfo ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1min 33.286s
22. Mark Aitchison AUS Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1min 33.413s
Phillip Island official WSBK lap records
Best lap: Regis Laconi FRA DFX Ducati 1m 31.050s (2009)
Race lap record: Troy Corser AUS Yamaha Italia 1m 31.826s (2007) / Eurosport

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