Nürburg (Germany), Sunday 4th September 2011: Carlos Checa and the Althea Racing team experienced two very different races today at the Nürburgring; starting from pole position, Checa dominated a dry race one while extremely wet conditions in the second race prevented him from doing better than eighth.
The first Superbike race of the day got underway under very cloudy skies but on a fortunately dry track. Carlos, starting from pole for the fifth time this season, made a strong start and was first at the first corner. He had to defend himself from Haga through the first laps but lap by lap he was able to build an advantage over Melandri and Haga behind him. Checa made the fastest lap of the race on lap four (1m55.971), taking his sixth Pirelli fast lap award. From mid-race onwards, his advantage increased and, despite the fact that he lost a little time in the final stages due to excessive tyre wear, he still crossed the line comfortably in first position, 1.8 seconds ahead of Melandri in second.
Race 2 was delayed due to the onset of heavy rain just a few minutes prior to the off. Teams had ten minutes in which to swap to rain tyres and prepare for what would be an extremely wet race. Checa, not wanting to take any risks, was in eleventh position through the first corner. During the first half of the race he slowly increased his pace but, seeing several riders crash out ahead of him, he preferred not to push too hard. By the thirteenth lap he had moved up into eighth place and at the conclusion of that same lap race direction took the decision to suspend the race. Carlos thus closed race 2 in eighth position.
At the conclusion of this, the tenth round of the championship, Checa continues to lead the rider’s classification with 376 points. He holds a 74 point advantage over Melandri in second position. Ducati continues to lead the constructor’s championship with 400 points to Yamaha’s 351.
“Today’s first race was very special for me, and signifies my first ever SBK win at the Nürburgring. I would like to dedicate this result to Claudio Castiglioni, he was an extremely important figure in the motorcyling world and it is also in part thanks to him that we are here racing these bikes today. The race 1 result was very important in terms of the championship. I knew that it was important to increase the gap between me and Noriyuki in the first half of the race and this small advantage proved useful in the final stages when I began to suffer from a lack of grip. Race 2 on the other hand was one of the hardest races I’ve ever run. We were obliged to try to finish it of course but I was really suffering due to the sheer quantity of water and track conditions, and couldn’t even see as far as the next corner! I’m sorry for those who took risks and I’m also sorry that Biaggi was not racing with us today. I hope he gets better and that we’ll see him back at Imola. But for us it was a very positive day and I’m very happy with the outcome.”
Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager di Althea Racing:
“A very positive weekend for us; we have certainly worked very well and are satisfied with the points gained, despite the fact that race 2 didn’t go as it would have done in the dry. Carlos used all of his experience to complete one of the most difficult races of his career and once again demonstrated his great professionalism. From here on in, we’ll simply try not to make mistakes. We’re all very pleased.”
RESULTS: Race 1 – 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Melandri (Yamaha); 3. Haga (Aprilia). Gara 2 – 1. Sykes (Kawasaki); 2. Guintoli (Ducati); 3. Smrz (Ducati) CLASSIFICATION: Riders – 1. Checa (Ducati) 376; 2. Melandri (Yamaha) 302; 3. Biaggi (Aprilia) 281; 4. Laverty (Yamaha) 232; 5. Haslam (BMW) 176; 6. Camier (Aprilia) 154; 7. Fabrizio (Suzuki) 141; 8. Guintoli (Ducati) 139…… Manufacturers – Ducati 400; Yamaha 351; Aprilia 336; BMW 214; Kawasaki 171; Suzuki 158; Honda 132
RESULTS: Race 1 – 1. Checa (Ducati); 2. Melandri (Yamaha); 3. Haga (Aprilia). Gara 2 – 1. Sykes (Kawasaki); 2. Guintoli (Ducati); 3. Smrz (Ducati)
CLASSIFICATION: Riders – 1. Checa (Ducati) 376; 2. Melandri (Yamaha) 302; 3. Biaggi (Aprilia) 281; 4. Laverty (Yamaha) 232; 5. Haslam (BMW) 176; 6. Camier (Aprilia) 154; 7. Fabrizio (Suzuki) 141; 8. Guintoli (Ducati) 139…… Manufacturers – Ducati 400; Yamaha 351; Aprilia 336; BMW 214; Kawasaki 171; Suzuki 158; Honda 132