Checa Crashes, Melandri Wins

Henny Ray Abrams | May 28, 2012

TOOELE, UTAH, MAY 28 – BMW Motorrad’s Marco Melandri took advantage of a mistake by Althea Racing Ducati’s Carlos Checa to give BMW their first win at Miller Motorsports Park before a weekend crowd of 49,000. Honda’s Jonathan Rea was second and Aprilia’s Max Biaggi third.

The first attempt to run the race ended on the fourth lap when Honda’s Hiroshi Aoyama crashed exiting the Attitudes, spilling fluids on the track. It would be nearly 90 minutes before the track was clean and the race was re-started.

When it did Checa was in the lead and streaming away when he crashed on the sixth of 18 laps, down from the original 21. Checa remounted and pitted, then rejoined the race. Later he would retire.

Melandri was in front at that point with ParkinGO MTC Aprilia’s Chaz Davies second before being passed by Rea on the seventh lap. Early on lap eight  Biaggi passed Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes for fourth.

The lead trio tried to pull away, and did, but Biaggi had something in reserve. As did Rea. He passed Melandri early on the 11th lap and Davies soon followed, while Biaggi closed.

Melandri soon repassed Davies as Rea seemed to be stretching his lead. But Melandri had a plan. On the final lap he drafted by Rea into the first turn. Rea took a look inside on the next corner, but never made a serious play for the lead.

The margin of victory was .195 sec.

The win, coupled with his second in the first race, made the day the best yet in World Superbike for Melandri.

Biaggi passed Davies on the 16th of 18 laps to take third comfortably after Davies understood there wasn’t enough tire under him to fight back. Still, it was his best World Superbike finish. (His previous best was seventh in the second race at Donington Park.)

With Checa’s crash, Biaggi re-took the championship lead with 160.5 points to 142.5 for Melandri and Sykes 142.5, Rea with 141, and Checa with 130.5.

Sykes ended up fifth, just in front of Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty. Next there was a group contesting eighth that finished with Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) in front of BMW Motorrad’s Leon Haslam, Liberty Racing Team Effenbert’s Jakub Smrz, and Team Effenbert Liberty Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier was 11th, while teammate John Hopkins finished just out of the points in 16th, the highest ranking American. Jake Holden rode the Grillini Progea BMW S 1000 RR to 18th, one spot up on Shane Turpin (Boulder Motorsports Ducati).

World Superbike Race Two Results:

1. Marco Melandri (BMW)

2. Jonathan Rea (Honda)

3. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

4. Chaz Davies (Aprilia)

5. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)

6. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia)

7. Davide Giugliano (Ducati)

8. Leon Haslam (BMW)

9. Jakub Smrz (Ducati)

10. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati)

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.