Carlos Checa got his 2011 World Superbike season to a pretty strong start by winning the first two races presented this week-end at the Phillip Island
circuit in Australia.
The Althea Ducati rider dominated most of the first race except for the two opening laps pushing past initial leader Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) on lap three.
From here, Checa never looked back in part thanks to Laverty who managed to hold series current champion Max Biaggi
(Aprilia) long enough for Checa to create a comfort zone that wouldn't be breached all the way to the chequered flag.
Once he had dispatched Laverty for second on lap six, Biaggi did try his best to challenge Checa but he would eventually be forced to settle for a lonely second position, more than 4.3secs adrift.
Meanwhile, Leon Haslam (BMW), who was running third, held firm but was never able to establish a significant margin over a chasing pack that consisted of Laverty, Marco Melandri (Yamaha), Jonathan Rea (Honda) and Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki).
The last spot in the podium would be decided in the closing moment of the race with Haslam successfully regaining and holding to hid third place in front of Melandri.
In the second event, Checa was similarly commanding, making a definitive pass for the lead on lap three before stretching away to win.
The fight for second would be between former MotoGP rivals Max Biaggi and Marco Melandri. While Melandri seemingly had the measure of Biaggi through the bends, he would repeatedly see his efforts undone by his rival's ability to simply draft pass on the home straight.
It was the advantage Biaggi needed to stay ahead at the chequered flag, the reigning champion completing his second podium appearance.
Despite losing out to Biaggi, Melandri's can still be satisfied with a mightily impressive WSBK debut, one that suggests he will be amongst those to make a successful transition from MotoGP to Superbike racing.
Next race will be held at Donington Park in England on March 27.
WSBK» Phillip Island- Race No.1 - Results
Pos. Rider Team/Bike Gap
1. Carlos Checa ESP Althea Ducati 1098R 34mins 16.503s
2. Max Biaggi ITA Aprilia Alitalia Racing RSV-4 +4.365s
3. Leon Haslam GBR BMW Motorrad S1000RR +10.719s
4. Eugene Laverty IRL Yamaha WSBK YZF R1 +11.266s
5. Marco Melandri ITA Yamaha WSBK YZF R1 +11.293s
6. Michel Fabrizio ITA Suzuki Alstare GSX-R1000 +12.039s
7. Jakub Smrz CZE Effenbert Liberty Ducati 1098R +20.294s
8. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki RTS ZX-10R +20.742s
9. Noriyuki Haga JPN PATA Aprilia RSV-4 +22.421s
10. Troy Corser AUS BMW Motorrad S1000RR +25.822s
WSBK» Phillip Island- Race No.2 - Results
Pos. Rider Team/Bike Gap
1. Carlos Checa ESP Althea Ducati 1098R 34mins 15.041s
2. Max Biaggi ITA Aprilia Alitalia Racing RSV-4 +1.188s
3. Marco Melandri ITA Yamaha WSBK YZF R1 +1.406s
4. Jonathan Rea GBR Castrol Honda CBR1000RR +10.563s
5. Leon Haslam GBR BMW Motorrad S1000RR +10.885s
6. Leon Camier GBR Aprilia Alitalia Racing RSV-4 +16.914s
7. Noriyuki Haga JPN PATA Aprilia RSV-4 +17.558s
8. Michel Fabrizio ITA Suzuki Alstare GSX-R1000 +17.679s
9. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki RTS ZX-10R +18.070s
10. Ruben Xaus ESP Castrol Honda CBR1000RR +19.053s