Photography By: Gold & Goose
Althea Racing Ducati's Carlos Checa doubled up by winning the second World Superbike leg in nearly identical fashion to his first leg win, and taking over the championship points lead at the end of a successful day of racing in Imola, Italy.
As he'd done in race one, Checa was second off the start in the shadow of pole-sitter Tom Sykes and his Kawasaki. Checa briefly lost second to Aprilia's Max Biaggi on the seventh lap before resuming his pursuit of Sykes. The pass for the lead was executed on the 15th lap, three laps later than he'd done in race one, but the results were the same. Checa immediately put a second on Sykes who saw his hopes for victory vanishing in the distance. With a clear track ahead, Checa sped to his third victory in a row with a gap of 1.935 seconds. Sykes was second with BMW Motorrad's Leon Haslam third to complete an identical podium to race one.
Checa's win, coupled with Biaggi again finishing fourth, put the Spaniard on top of the point standings. After two of 14 rounds, Checa has 75 points to 71 for Biaggi. Sykes is third with 69.
Biaggi and Haslam had been separated from Sykes and Checa by a first lap incident in race one. Nothing of the sort happened in race two and the lead trio stayed together until the seventh lap when Sykes pulled out a gap of over 1.6 seconds. Checa chipped away and caught up to Sykes eventually, while Haslam chased Biaggi to the 13th lap when he made the pass for the final podium spot. Haslam finished .377 of a second in front of Biaggi.
Two laps from the end, the battered and bruised Jonathan Rea took over a distant fifth on his Honda. Rea, who'd suffered a heavy highside in Superpole, was 15 seconds behind Biaggi and just over a second over the battle for sixth.
Aprilia Racing Team's Eugene Laverty narrowly held off Liberty Racing Team Effenbert DucatiJakub Smrz for the spot, with Leon Camier eighth on the Crescent Fixi Suzuki. Camier's teammate wasn't around for the finish. After scoring his first points of the season with a 13th in the first leg, John Hopkins was forced to the pits on the fifth of 21 laps with severe arm pump.
Kawasaki's Joan Lascorz was within half a second of Camier in ninth, with BMW's Marco Melandri just in front of the Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati's Sylvain Guintoli in tenth. Melandri had been a distant fifth before a mistake on the 15th lap dropped him to tenth.
World Superbike Results:
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
3. Leon Haslam (BMW)
4. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
5. Jonathan Rea (Honda)
6. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia)
7. Jakub Smrz (Ducati)
8. Leon Camier (Suzuki)
10. Marco Melandri (BMW)
DNF John Hopkins (Suzuki)