WSBK

Checa claims WSBK title in spectacular fashion

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Spain's Carlos Checa has stuck to his word, producing an authoritative performance to wrap up the 2011 world Superbike title at Magny-Cours overnight.

Even though title success was virtually assured in advance, Checa had vowed that he wasn't going to break stride in France, and that's what transpired when he romped to his fifth clean sweep of the season.

Checa is now the first Spaniard to win the WSBK title, while it was the 14th solo victory for Ducati.

"Today has been a perfect day, the best day of my career and probably the best day of my life," said Checa, who now holds an unassailable 107pt lead over Italian Marco Melandri. "I thank everyone, every person that has helped me throughout my career, from the beginning up until today, for helping me reach this point.

"I especially want to thank Genesio Bevilacqua (the boss of Althea Racing), my entire team and Ducati of course. I am experiencing so many emotions and must admit that it was very difficult to keep my concentration in the final stages of race one.

"Then, in race two, I tried to race as fast as I could, doing what I like to do best, and was able to win once more. Now we can relax and relish in this unforgettable moment."

The Yamaha-backed Melandri ‰ÛÒ for only more round ‰ÛÒ was courageous on his first visit to Magny-Cours, and fittingly finished second behind Checa in both races, with Leon Haslam (BMW) and Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) sharing the third places.

"I'm pleased with my two podium finishes today. Race one was very difficult, I was with struggling with the front so we modified the fork a bit before the second race but it didn't make the difference I had hoped for," Melandri said.

"At the beginning I didn't have a good feeling with the bike but mid-way I was more comfortable and pushed as hard I could. When I saw Eugene on the small hairpin on the last lap, I knew it was my only chance to get ahead. My target today was to catch up on the riders ahead and I did my best in both races so I'm happy to come away with two seconds."
Carlos Checa claimed his first World Title
Eugene Laverty was strong at the start of both races but had to deal with loads of pressure in the closing laps as he had to deal with Haslam, Leon Camier and then Melandri.

"They were two very tough races today. I was fighting hard for a podium in race one but I was struggling quite a bit with the rear towards the end and it was either crash or settle for fifth and I chose the latter," Laverty said.

"In the second race the bike was feeling very strong. I tried to stay with Carlos and battle for a win but he's hard to beat this year and then Marco did a great last few laps and managed to overtake me. It's great to be back on the podium again and it's nice to have two Yamahas up here together. I'm delighted to be in third place in the championship but hopefully Max will be back in Portimao so we can battle for third overall."

After an average season Leon Haslam was back on the podium.

"I have not been on the podium too many times this year, so we will take every opportunity," Haslam said.

"In the early laps of race one I was struggling a little bit, but then everything started to feel better. It was a good battle all the way with Marco and Eugene for the podium spots.

"In race two we had a few issues with the hotter conditions which prevented us from getting another podium finish. Certainly we are happy with two strong results like we had today, but there is still room for improvement. Still we all understand the areas where we need to work and we will go away from here and focus on putting everything right in time for Portimao."

The day went to naught for pole winner Jonathan Rae. The Castrol Honda rider crashed out of the firs race after jumping the start and being shuffled back through the field. In race 2 he onece again suffered electrical drama's when

Meanwhile, the other headline-grabbing news at Magny-Cours was the announcement that Melandri had signed as the second factory rider at BMW for 2012, replacing Australia's two-time world champion Troy Corser.

Melandri, a former 250cc world champion and MotoGP winner, has been looking for another seat ever since Yamaha announced it was closing its factory operation at the end of this season.

Corser, 39, has been with BMW since the start of its WSBK campaign, but according to the company's Motorsport Director Bernhard Gobmeier "a joint decision was made with Troy that it is time to take the next step".

"Troy has made a vital contribution to establishing and further developing the team and the RR over the past three years. We would like to thank him for this. We came to a joint decision with Troy that it is time to take the next step," said Gobmeier.

"We are working on ensuring that Troy maintains his links with BMW Motorrad. Troy is inseparably associated with the development of the first BMW Motorrad superbike, and we want to take this into account."

There has been no official word from the Corser camp on his future plans, but despite the obvious distraction, Corser produced his most industrious performance in ages, finishing ninth in both 23-lap races. But he was still a little disappointed.

"We have been strong and consistent all weekend, and in all honesty I was hoping for better results," said Corser. "I have been happy with the bike throughout practice and the setup seemed good for the races, but we really struggled for grip in the latter stages of both races.

"Two top 10 finishes on paper is not so bad, but with the pace we have shown we all expected a little bit more. Still we have some good information to work with going into Portimao in two weeks' time."

Australia's other rider, Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki), failed to finish either race, Aitchison was flung over the bars at high speed on the opening lap when he high sided on the fastest corner on the track.

Main Photo: Carlos Checa celebrates his world title with Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty
Photo: Yamaha Racing

Magny-Cours - SUPERBIKE - Race 1
1. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 38'16.465
2. Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) Yamaha YZF R1 38'18.666
3. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 38'19.683
4. Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 38'20.261
5. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) Yamaha YZF R1 38'22.067
6. Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 38'26.099
7. Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 38'26.279
8. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 38'27.852
9. Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 38'33.608
10. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) Kawasaki ZX-10R 38'40.988
11. Javier Fores (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) BMW S1000 RR 38'50.997
12. Michel Fabrizio (Team Suzuki Alstare) Suzuki GSX-R1000 39'36.207
13. Roberto Rolfo (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 39'30.062
RT. Maxime Berger (Supersonic Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 16'55.986
RT. Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) Honda CBR1000RR 6'43.296
RT. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) BMW S1000 RR 6'43.693
RT. Jakub Smrz (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 3'22.430
RT. Mark Aitchison (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'38.643

Magny-Cours - SUPERBIKE - Race 2
1. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 38'17.851
2. Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) Yamaha YZF R1 38'19.118
3. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) Yamaha YZF R1 38'19.894
4. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 38'24.357
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 38'25.694
6. Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 38'26.211
7. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 38'33.136
8. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) BMW S1000 RR 38'33.400
9. Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 38'34.129
10. Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 38'40.847
11. Javier Fores (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) BMW S1000 RR 39'00.983
12. Maxime Berger (Supersonic Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 39'05.697
RT. Roberto Rolfo (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 32'02.403
RT. Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) Honda CBR1000RR 21'36.461
RT. Mark Aitchison (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 20'27.804
RT. Michel Fabrizio (Team Suzuki Alstare) Suzuki GSX-R1000 3'21.492
RT. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'39.136

Championship standings
1 Carlos Checa 467 pts SPA DUCATI Althea Racing
2 Marco Melandri 360 pts ITA YAMAHA Yamaha World Superbike Team
3 Eugene Laverty 283 pts IR YAMAHA Yamaha World Superbike Team
4 Max Biaggi 281 pts ITA APRILIA Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team
5 Leon Haslam 216 pts GBR BMW BMW Motorrad Motosport
6 Leon Camier 194 pts GBR APRILIA Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team
7 Sylvain Guintoli 179 pts FRA DUCATI Team Effenbert - Liberty Racing
8 Noriyuki Haga 170 pts JPN APRILIA PATA Racing Team Aprilia
9 Ayrton Badovini 155 pts ITA BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team
10 Michel Fabrizio 145 pts ITA SUZUKI Team Suzuki Alstare
11 Joan Lascorz 142 pts ESP KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
12 Jonathan Rea 138 pts GBR HONDA Castrol Honda SBK Team
13 Tom Sykes 133 pts GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
14 Jakub Smrz 118 pts CZE DUCATI Team Effenbert - Liberty Racing
15 Troy Corser 85 pts AUS BMW BMW Motorrad Motosport
16 Ruben Xaus 49 pts SPA HONDA Castrol Honda SBK Team
17 Maxime Berger 49 pts ITA DUCATI Supersonic Racing Team
18 Roberto Rolfo 42 pts ITA KAWASAKI Team Pedercini
19 Mark Aitchison 36 pts AUS KAWASAKI Team Pedercini
20 John Hopkins 20 pts USA SUZUKI Samsung Crescent Racing
21 Chris Vermeulen 14 pts AUS KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
22 James Toseland 13 pts GBR BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team
23 Javier Fores 12 pts BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team
24 Lorenzo Lanzi 10 pts ITA BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team
25 Joshua Waters 8 pts AUS SUZUKI Yoshimura Suzuki
26 Federico Sandi 7 pts DUCATI Althea Racing
27 Alessandro Polita 5 pts ITA DUCATI Barni Racing Team S.N.C.
28 Matteo Baiocco 4 pts ITA DUCATI Barni Racing Team S.N.C.
29 Jon Kirkham 3 pts GBR SUZUKI Samsung Crescent Racing
30 Barry Veneman 3 pts NED BMW BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team
31 Viktor Kispataki 1 pts HUN HONDA Prop-tech ltd.
32 Fabrizio Lai 1 pts ITA HONDA Castrol Honda SBK Team
33 Bryan Staring 1 pts AUS KAWASAKI Team Pedercini
34 Alex Lowes 1 pts GBR HONDA Castrol Honda SBK Team
35 Makoto Tamada 0 pts JPN HONDA Castrol Honda SBK Team

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