A new champion was crowned in the penultimate round of the 2010 World Superbike Championship in Imola, Italy. Aprilia Alitalia rider Max Biaggi had a not-so-impressive 11-5 finish, but a DNF by his closest competitor Leon Haslam allowed Biaggi to clench the title.
As for the World SBK race winner, one man rode his hardest to take both Imola races: Althea Racing Ducati rider Carlos Checa. The Spaniard finished race one over a second ahead Ducati riders Lorenzo Lanzi and Noriyuki Haga, respectively.
In race 2, Checa finished ahead of Haga and Sterilgarda Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow.
Here’s what the WSBK riders were saying after Round 12 at Imola on Sunday:
Max Biaggi says: “This is a grand day, a day which I have greatly desired. I’ve often felt in past years like I hadn’t been placed in the proper conditions to be able to express my worth and to achieve the results that I know I deserve. This is one of the reasons that, at a certain point in my career, I chose this world, the SBK championship, and this is why I wanted to surround myself with the right people for this adventure – because racing isn’t just about speed, tyres and an engine. It is also about joy and having fun and with these guys, with this team, I feel at home. I want to thank everyone: my team, Aprilia, Piaggio Group, the chairman.”
“It has not been an easy season. Many riders have won races and if they had been just a bit more consistent, they would have been able to be more troublesome for us. The greatest moments were the double victories at Monza and Misano. It is something very special to win in front of my fans. But it isn’t over yet – there is still one goal left – to ride my RSV4 to the manufacturer title. We’ll talk again in a week and it would be truly fantastic to close out this wonderful season with another championship.”
Max Neukirchner says: “The main problem today was a lack of grip and we hadn’t tried the A tyre that I think most of the other riders went with, so we went with the B option for the first race. After three or four laps it wasn’t possible to fight any more. For the second race we changed the tire but nothing else and the problem returned after about ten laps. It feels like the chassis goes up and down and it was like the rear shock goes all the way down t o the tire.”
Noriyuki Haga says: “It wasn’t easy and I’m really happy to have reached the podium twice, even if I couldn’t win today. At this track the first corner is particularly narrow and that can make the first lap pretty dangerous but I got through it and made up some positions there, and then found a good rhythm in both races which meant I could start to catch up, finally reaching third, and then second. Of course it would have been even better to win but I would have needed a few more laps in order to do that. My congratulations go to Carlos, Lorenzo and Cal as they all rode extremely well, especially Carlos. A Ducati 1,2,3 and then a 1,2 – I’d say we can all be happy with that.”
Michel Fabrizio says: “Of course I wanted to do better on Ducati’s home track. In race 1 I was able to make up some places but the feeling I had with the bike got gradually worse and I didn’t have the necessary pace in the second half of the race. In race 2 I was confident and had good feeling but when Haslam had that problem, I also ran off track, losing ground. An error on the 14th lap caused me to crash and unfortunately I was unable to get back on.”
Jonathan Rea says: “We had to make the decision after warm up to sit out the two races because my injuries from yesterday were just too painful on the bike. I tried in warm-up but I didn’t have sufficient strength or control in my left wrist for left-handed corners. It’s very frustrating for me and the whole team – it’s been a tough weekend and I know I’ve had a lot of support behind me from the guys here and all my fans. I’m really sorry that we couldn’t make the race but I have to look after my body and I’m going to get some medical opinions. Until we’ve got them in we won’t be able to give a proper prognosis but I’d like to thank the team, our sponsors and all my fans for their support.”
Carlos Checa says: “Today was the best day of my career. Everything went perfectly and I know that I rode two of the best races of my life. Superpole didn’t reflect my earlier performance but in the races everything came together again, thanks to a strong start and a great pace. I feel great. The affection of my many fans, the feeling with my team that I thank for enabling me to score this incredible result, and the fact that I have done the double at Ducati’s, and Team Althea Racing’s, home track. I would like to congratulate Max on his title win but it has been a fantastic weekend for us too. We’re going to enjoy the moment.”
Tom Sykes says: “I don’t think we could have hoped for anything more this weekend. We’ve had a pole position and a fourth and sixth place and I think we have proved now that we are in the same league. I am so happy but I am also trying to keep my feet on the ground. I just love racing on empty tarmac which I had a taste of today and loved it. It’s a great result for the PBM Team and Kawasaki and I feel like I am in a dream, I certainly didn’t expect this when I came here. The guys have given me a great package and I am so happy I have been able to repay them with great results.”
Ian Lowry says: “I’ve not been to Imola before so it has been a big learning curve for me. Friday went well, we started off with the same settings that we left the Nurburgring with, and we spent a lot of time making changes to the bike and it was good for me to learn the circuit. It was a struggle on Saturday in the rain but the first race today went well; however the second race was more of a struggle up against the other Kawasaki’s. I had a few other problems also, but I know you can’t have it good all of the time. Now I am concentrating on Magny Cours next week and I am really looking forward to it.”
Cal Crutchlow says: “I’m happy with today in the end. I’m disappointed with the first race, I think I had podium pace and was catching up to the guys in front but made an error which dropped me back. The second race was good, I had a bad start then Noriyuki Haga and Carlos Checa and I all had to come from the back which made it interesting. Big thanks to Yamaha who put together a great bike this weekend for me, we were really strong and put in some good laps towards the end of the races and I think we showed what we are capable of.”
James Toseland says: “After the warm up this morning I felt really confident. The Yamaha team worked really hard overnight last night and the bike I had today felt really good. Unfortunately we had a technical issue in race one when I felt I could have challenged for the podium. Once again in race two I fought hard in the early stages and had the pace to go for the podium. It just seems that luck isn’t with me at the moment but I’m going to try and win a race in Magny Cours as it’s a place that’s always bought me luck.”
Jakub Smrz says: “In race 1, everything went smoothly, I made a good start and stayed with the leading pack, repeating what I had done well in practice. Therefore, I cannot be but pleased, I was hoping to score a good result for a long time and make the team happy and I managed to do that on their home track. I wanted to do well in the second race too, unfortunately I had a forearm contraction which prevented me from giving my all. I didn’t give up but I decided to return to the pits after a few laps”.
Ruben Xaus says: “It was really difficult. My first start was really bad, but at least I then found a good rhythm. My second start was really good, but Troy and I could not defend our positions. It is a frustrating situation, because we know the potential of the bike. We were very strong at some points, but we were also struggling in some corners. And that was where we both lost the positions. We must try to make the bike more flexible in tight corners. Thanks to my team that again worked really hard, now let’s try to have a good last weekend at Magny-Cours.”
Troy Corser says: “It’s been a really hard weekend for us. We have had some issues with our set-up, and that has hindered us today. As always the team has worked really hard, but sadly we couldn’t secure a good finish in either race. We made two good starts and when the bike was gripping everything was working well. Sadly once the grip levels dropped off, I just couldn’t do the lap times. I was struggling to get the bike to do what I wanted it to do. We must work hard over the next few days to ensure we improve in time for Magny-Cours.”