Althea Racing Ducati's Carlos Checa stretched his championship lead by holding off Aprilia Alitalia's Max Biaggi in the opening race of the fifth round of the World Superbike Championship at the Misano Adriatico circuit in Italy.Checa took the lead from the reigning World Champion on the 12th of 24 laps after the pair had cleared well out from Yamaha's Marco Melandri.Checa immediately began to ease away and pushed his lead over two secs. before slowing at the end. He won his seventh of 11 races by .984 of a second.The win gives him a 67-point gap on Biaggi, 220-153. The Italian went back into second in the points after having lost the spot to Melandri by carding a DNF and third at Miller Motorsports Part two weeks ago.Melandri dropped to third in the standings, 70 points behind Checa, after finishing a distant third in advance of this afternoon's second race.Melandri had late company from Kawasaki's Tom Sykes, the pole-sitter who would finish fourth after passing Yamaha's Eugene Laverty on the final lap. Melandri, the best of the close finishing trio, was a gaping 17.124 seconds behind Checa.Aprilia Alitalia's Leon Camier was sixth, with Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati's Sylvain Guintoli seventh.The first BMW was Ayrton Badovini, the Italian putting the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK machine in eighth. Neither of the factory bikes finished. Leon Haslam crashed and Troy Corser was forced to withdraw. Other crashers included Suzuki Alstare's Michel Fabrizio and Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati's Jakub Smrz.Kawasaki's Joan Lascorz was ninth, with Maxime Berger filling out the top 10 on the Supersonic Racing Team Ducati.Castrol Honda's Ruben Xaus, the team's lone entrant, was 11th. Teammate Jonathan Rea crashed in morning warm-up and may have suffered a concussion. He was ruled out of the day's races.

Race One:

1. Carlos Checa (Ducati)

2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

3. Marco Melandri (Yamaha)

4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)

5. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha)

6. Leon Camier (Aprilia)

7. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati)

8. Ayrton Badovini (BMW)

9. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki)

10. Maxime Berger (Ducati)

 

World Superbike Headlines

By Cycle News Staff

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