Tooele (USA), Monday 28th May 2012: A spectacular race day for team Althea Racing and the World Superbike fans at the Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah, which saw Carlos Checa dominate in race one, winning with an advantage of more than two seconds.
Race 1 – in sunny conditions, Checa started from sixth position on the grid. On the second lap he was passed by Melandri and shortly afterwards both were able to get past race leader Sykes. On lap seven the Althea flagbearer got ahead of Melandri to take control of the race, remaining at the front of the pack until the finish line. Checa managed his race perfectly, keeping Melandri safely behind him and passing the chequered flag 2.3 seconds ahead of the BMW rider.
Giugliano had a less fortunate first race. He lost ground in the first laps, citing a lack of grip at the rear. At the end of the first lap he was down in tenth place. Unfortunately he lost a couple more positions on the next lap and then had to work hard to catch up from 13th position. Once past Berger and Badovini, he gave chase to Haslam and on lap eighteen he was able to get round him too, thus closing this first race in final eleventh position.
Race 2 – This time both Althea riders made a good start and by lap two Carlos was already in front, having passed both Melandri and Sykes, while Davide was in fifth position. Unfortunately a red flag stopped the race on the next lap, after Aoyama crashed, leaving oil on the track. The race was restarted, with 18 laps to run, an hour later. This time Carlos was almost immediately in first position, with Davide behind him in fifth. On the second lap the Spanish rider recorded the fastest lap of the race but, pushing to the limit, he unfortunately crashed out on the fifth lap when he lost the front. After a brief pitstop Carlos returned to the track but had lost too much ground; on lap thirteen his team called him back to the garage. Giugliano, now racing with a softer tyre with respect to race 1, battled first with Rea and then with Haslam, closing in seventh place and taking some important points. His was the first Ducati across the line in this second race.
At the end of this sixth round of the World SBK championship, Carlos Checa is now in fifth position in the general standings with 130.5 points, while Davide Giugliano now lies in ninth position with 64 points. Ducati continues to dominate in the manufacturer’s championship with 195.5 points to Aprilia’s 176.
“Race 1 - a great result, a great race, a great moment! I’ve always had a great relationship with this track and to win here again is just fantastic, especially after some difficult recent rounds. The race wasn’t an easy one and Melandri pushed right until the end, I couldn’t relax for a second! But I was feeling confident with the tyre that we had chosen and was able to make a great race. I had to work hard through the corners as we seemed to be losing a lot on the straights but I am very happy with the result, and happy for the entire team that has worked so hard this weekend. In this second race I was pushing, I was feeling confident with the setting but clearly I pushed a bit too hard and lost the front. I went back on track but there was nothing I could do, I’d lost too much ground.”
“In race 1 we made a conservative tyre choice knowing that it was the one everyone was using but it didn’t suit my riding style and I wasn’t able to ride as I wanted to, I just had to control the situation as best I could. In race 2 I was satisfied to be the first Ducati – although of course I’m really sorry for Carlos, as the win would surely have gone to him. It’s not an easy track for the Ducati, we were all losing so much along the straight but, considering that we couldn’t even stick in the slipstream of the four-cylinders, I think that seventh is not at all bad and we go towards Misano satisfied, and ready for what is one of my favourite tracks.”
Genesio Bevilacqua – General Manager of Althea Racing:
“A bittersweet day. In race 1 Carlos had to make extraordinary effort to manage the situation and keep the four-cylinders at bay. In the second he demonstrated a slight superiority in the first ‘heat’ but then the accident with Aoyama conditioned the second ‘heat’. Carlos made a good start, was pushing to stay ahead, but crashed, losing the chance to close the gap with the championship leaders. We’ll do everything to make up for this – everything is possible. Davide didn’t do as well as we’d hoped in the first race, as he did not have the right feeling with the tyre that we chose. In the second we let him race with the softer tyre and he demonstrated strong potential. There’s still work to do but it’s significant that, without Carlos, he was the first Ducati across the line.”
RESULT: Race 1 – 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Melandri (BMW); 3. Biaggi (Aprilia). Race 2 – 1. Melandri (BMW); 2. Rea (Honda); 3. Biaggi (Aprilia)
CLASSIFICATION: Riders – 1. Biaggi (Aprilia) 160.5; 2. Melandri (BMW) 142.5; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 142.5; 4. Rea (Honda) 141; 5. Checa (Ducati) 130.5; 6. Haslam (BMW) 103; 7. Guintoli (Ducati) 95; 8. Laverty (Aprilia) 86; 9. Giugliano (Ducati) 64; 10. Smrz (Ducati) 61.5;. Manufacturers – Ducati 195.5; BMW 176; Aprilia 171; Kawasaki 148.5; Honda 145; Suzuki 48.5