Imola (Italy), Sunday 1st April 2012: another amazing and unforgettable day for 2011 World SBK champion Carlos Checa who rewarded his team with two brilliant race wins at the Imola circuit; thanks to these impressive results, the Spanish ‘Toro’ now leads the championship standings.
A very unfortunate day on the other hand for young talent Davide Giugliano who suffered two DNFs due to technical problems.
Race 1: Carlos made a very quick start and was immediately up in second position, behind Sykes who seemed to have an even stronger pace than the Spaniard. The Althea rider did all he could to stick with the Kawasaki and when he saw that the Englishman was suffering a little through certain sections of the track, he took the tactical decision to pass and break away. On lap eleven Carlos took the lead and from that point he slowly built up an advantage, crossing the finish line in first position with a 3.2 second advantage over Sykes, second. Carlos recorded the fastest lap of the race; the 1m47.877 assured him of the Pirelli ‘best lap’ award.
Giugliano started from twelfth position on the grid. He ran off track when another rider made contact soon after the race start. Then, having made an error at the chicane he was given a five second penalty, after which he unfortunately found himself in last position. The young rider tried to make up lost ground but a technical problem prevented him from going beyond lap eight of the race.
Race 2: The second race got off to a similar start for Carlos, who was second, behind Sykes once again, at the end of the opening lap. On lap seven he battled with Biaggi and then a few laps later with Haslam. On lap 14, having closed the gap between himself and raceleader Sykes, Checa got past the Englishman and took control of the race. His strong pace allowed him to break away from the chasing pack and take the second race win of the day. Checa won with a 1.9 second advantage over Sykes in second; Haslam once again closed in third place. With today’s victories, Carlos becomes the rider to have won more races than any other at the Imola track – he has celebrated on the top step of the podium five times at this circuit.
Thanks to a strong start, Davide Giugliano was up in eighth by the end of lap one and chasing down Melandri, immediately ahead of him. The Italian pair fought it out for a few laps, before both passed Laverty. On lap fourteen Giugliano was able to pass Melandri, positioning himself fifth where he remained until the final lap. Unfortunately it seems that in the final seconds of the race he ran out of fuel, and was thus unable to cross the line. The situation is under investigation by the team.
Thanks to the 50 points earned today, Carlos has projected himself to the top of the rider standings with 75 points to Biaggi’s 71 and Sykes’ 69. Giugliano is seventeenth with 10 points. Ducati leads the manufacturer’s standings with 91 points to the 71 held by Aprilia, in second.
Carlos Checa: “Another incredible day, one more that I will never forget! At the beginning of race one I could see that Sykes had a very strong pace but I stuck with him. When I realized that he was beginning to have trouble in certain places, I took the opportunity to get past him. Then I was able to build a small advantage which meant I could finish comfortably ahead. It was all an unknown today with the much colder conditions, we didn’t know what tyre to use but we took the risk of using that which we’d tested during the practice sessions (but on a much warmer track) – it was a risk but it paid off. The second race was very similar to the first. I made a small mistake near the beginning but was then able to find my rhythm. I thank my team, the sponsor and of course the fans – it’s always great to win in Italy and I thank the spectators with whom I share these great emotions.”
Davide Giugliano: “This is not what we wanted today. Congratulations to Carlos of course but I am so disappointed as far as my own day is concerned. After the DNF of race 1 I was hoping to take a good result in the second race. I made a fast start, making up some positions very quickly and then I battled for a few laps with Melandri who had a similar pace to me. On the 14th lap I got ahead of him and wanted to maintain the pace to hold fifth place. Unfortunately in the last seconds my bike came to a stop and I was unable to finish, game over. A day to forget, we go to Assen where we hope to make up for this.”
Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager di Althea Racing: “A fantastic result as far as the classification is concerned, with Carlos winning two races that we knew would be no easy feat today. We’re fighting with what we have available to us and are pretty satisfied, but of course we’re worried about another eventual increase in weight and the air restrictor. I was also very happy to see Davide’s great performance in the second race. His weekend was unfortunately conditioned by a lot of bad luck. We’re still looking into exactly what happened in the second race when he was up in fifth position but I hope we can continue to put in performances that match the rider’s obvious ability.”
RESULTS: Race 1 – 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Sykes (Kawasaki); 3. Haslam (BMW). Race 2 – 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Sykes (Kawasaki); 3. Haslam (BMW). CLASSIFICATION: Riders – 1. Checa (Ducati) 75; 2. Biaggi (Aprilia) 71; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 69; 4. Haslam (BMW) 47; 5. Melandri (BMW) 46; 5. Rea (Honda) 40; 6. Smrz (Ducati) 30; 7. Laverty (Aprilia) 29; 8. Guintoli (Ducati) 21..... 17. Giugliano (Ducati) 10. Manufacturers – Ducati 91; Aprilia 71; Kawasaki 69; BMW 63; Honda 40; Suzuki 15
RESULTS: Race 1 – 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Sykes (Kawasaki); 3. Haslam (BMW). Race 2 – 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Sykes (Kawasaki); 3. Haslam (BMW).
CLASSIFICATION: Riders – 1. Checa (Ducati) 75; 2. Biaggi (Aprilia) 71; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 69; 4. Haslam (BMW) 47; 5. Melandri (BMW) 46; 5. Rea (Honda) 40; 6. Smrz (Ducati) 30; 7. Laverty (Aprilia) 29; 8. Guintoli (Ducati) 21..... 17. Giugliano (Ducati) 10. Manufacturers – Ducati 91; Aprilia 71; Kawasaki 69; BMW 63; Honda 40; Suzuki 15