Checa Takes Superpole

Henny Ray Abrams | May 30, 2010

TOOELE, UT, MAY 30: Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa rekindled the magic that took him to his best ever World Superbike weekend when he topped Superpole for the second time at Miller Motorsports Park.Checa’s most memorable weekend in World Superbike came here in Tooele, Utah two years ago, when he won both races from the pole position. That pole was his first in World Superbike. Today was his second, but he wasn’t on top from the start.The Spaniard he had to watch while Aprilia Alitalia’s Max Biaggi led Superpole 1 and finished Superpole 2 with a new lap record of 1:47.528 mins., a time that improved on the 1:48.115 that Biaggi had turned in final qualifying and which also lowered Checa’s fastest lap mark.Then Checa upped the pace and on his first flying lap of Superpole 3 by setting a new fast lap 1:47.081 mins. Not long after, the 12 minute session was interrupted near midpoint by a red flag. When the session was re-started, Checa watched as Biaggi made a run at him. In the end the Italian didn’t come very close, finishing second at a deficit of .333 secs.Third on the day went to Sterilgarda Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow, the British rider more than half a second down on Biaggi and only marginally in front of Jakub Smrz (Team PATA B&G Ducati).Smrz never made it past the red flag. The session was stopped at the 4:55 mark when Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea high-sided on his second hot lap. Rea’s crash was quick, but spectacular. The rear end came around, spit him off the front, then the Honda hit him on the chest and neck as it flew over his body while he slid down the track. With the Honda coming to a stop in the middle of the corner, there was no choice but to stop the session. But before it was stopped, Smrz had a more violent high-side on his Ducati, the Czech rider also being thrown over the bars. Still, he finished at the end of the first row.Championship leader Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) was briefly in second before being dropped to fifth place, where he’ll start the race just in front of Ducati Xerox’s Nori Haga.Unable to improve his time, Rea landed in seventh, one up on Alitalia Aprilia’s Leon Camier.BMW’s Ruben Xaus will start from the row three pole after qualifying ninth fastest and just missing Superpole 3. Michel Fabrizio put the second Ducati Xerox 1098R into tenth spot in front of Shane Byrne (Althea Ducati) and Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki Alstare).Superpole 2 didn’t begin well for BMW’s Troy Corser. The former champion fell on his out lap, commandeered a track worker’s Honda, returned to the pits, then went back out with 5:30 to go. He briefly jumped up from 16th to 13th before falling back to 15th and out of Superpole 3.All of the Kawasakis, including Roger Lee Hayden, were eliminated in Superpole 1.

 Superpole:1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:47.0812. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:47.4143. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:47.6484. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1:47.6625. Leon Haslam (Suzuki) 1:48.0066. Nori Haga (Ducati) 1:48.0357. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:43.3788. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 1:48.6219.  Ruben Xaus (BMW) 1:48.14110. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:48.15411. Shane Byrne (Ducati) 1:48.15912. Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki) 1:48.16213. Luca Scassa (Ducati) 1:48.27414. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:48.64015. Troy Corser (BMW) 1:48.70616. Max Neukirchner (Honda) 1:48.964

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.