Checa Closes in on World Superbike Crown

Cycle News Staff | September 25, 2011

Althea Racing Ducati’s Carlos Checa was virtually assured the 2011 World Superbike Championship after Jonathan Rea dropped out of the second race lead with a mechanical problem on his Castrol Honda CBR1000RR, handing Checa the race win on the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit in Imola, Italy.Rea was well on his way to repeating his first race win when his Honda was slowed by a faulty battery connection that caused an intermittent misfire four laps from the end. Checa had taken second from PATA Racing Team Aprilia’s Nori Haga on the 16th of 21 laps and was in the perfect spot to take the lead when Rea slowed on lap 17 before dropping out a lap later.With a clear track ahead, Checa sped to his 13th win of the year, this time by 4.631 secs. Haga was second and Aprilia Alitalia’s Leon Camier third.Checa’s 13th win of the season gives him a 97 point lead on Yamaha’s Marco Melandri, who finished sixth in race two. In the unlikely event that Melandri wins the final four races, Checa needs only three points – a 12th place finish – to become the first Spaniard, and only the third rider from the European Continent, to win the WSB title.Checa won’t have long to wait to raise the number ‘1’ plate. The championship continues next weekend with the penultimate round in Magny-Cours, France.Yamaha’s Eugene Laverty just edged out BMW Motorrad’s Leon Haslam for fourth, with Melandri alone in sixth. Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati’s Sylvain Guintoli held off Kawasaki’s Joan Lascorz for eighth. Pedercini Kawasaki’s Mark Aitchison was ninth in front of BMW Motorrad Italia’s Ayrton Badovini.Race Two Results:1. Carlos Checa (Ducati)

2. Nori Haga (Aprilia)

3. Leon Camier (Aprilia)

4. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha)

5. Leon Haslam (BMW)

6. Marco Melandri (Yamaha)

7. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati)

8. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki)

9. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki)

10. Ayrton Badovini (BMW)