Imola Superbike: Results & New Champion
For the first time in World Superbike history, an Italian achieved the championship as 11-5 results at Imola allowed Aprilia Alitalia’s Max Biaggi to clench the title. He was crowned champion after his closest competitor, Suzuki Alstare’s Leon Haslam, was forced out of race 2; Biaggi’s fifth-place finish gave him enough points to be crowned champion a round early.
“Max Biaggi says: “I’m so happy, it’s a big emotion through all my body. This is fantastic. It’s like a dream come true, I never stopped to dream to make it happen. It was always in my mind. In fair conditions I expected it myself, OK this year we at Aprilia did a good job, there are tough riders out there, I don’t want to take anything away from them, some are more consistent than others but they are all fast and this championship is very competitive.”
“I had so many problems in race 1, off the track, on the track, the bike sideways but I didn’t crash. It was very tough, for sure we didn’t get the best set-up here at Imola, it’s not an easy track but I never stopped to try. In race 2 we changed the bike and I attacked from the first lap. This is a really great day for me, for all my team, for Aprilia Alitalia, my sponsors, everyone who supported us to make this dream come true. We really made it happen.”
After Imola, Biaggi has 413 points to Haslam’s 350, with one round and a maximum of only 50 points remaining. Although Ducati riders ended up on the podium in both Imola races, Aprilia still leads by 41 points in the 2010 World SBK manufacturer’s race.
Winning both races at Imola, the penultimate round of the 2010 WSBK Championship, was Althea Racing Ducati rider Carlos Checa.
The first race in Imola was all Ducati. Checa was challenged by Haslam for most of the race, but a mistake by the Brit pulled him and his GSX-R1000 back to fifth place, rewarding second to DFX Corse Ducati rider Lorenzo Lanzi, and third to Ducati Xerox’s Noriyuki Haga.
Carlos Checa says: “Fantastic race, we struggled yesterday for qualifying in the wet but today it was more hard for the Ducatis and the top guys because it’s not easy trying to pass and everyone is going fast in the beginning. I didn’t want to make any mistake. Right to the very end I was pushing quite strong, at the end I didn’t expect Haslam to push so strong. I saw him braking very late, but I was able to have a clean track and finish a special and nice victory. This was like a home race for the team so a big race for them.”
Lorenzo Lanzi says: “Today was a very beautiful day for me, an Italian on the podium so fantastic. My team have worked very well this weekend, conditions were difficult, rain no rain, so it was very strange. Yesterday in Superpole I worked a lot because I wanted to finish on the podium in the race, which is important for next year. I was in the lead for a few laps, which was very good, It’s been so long I don’t remember what it’s like!
Noriyuki Haga says: “It’s a very good result after a really tough race, because also conditions were hard by getting hot: And I was starting from 14th on the grid. Here the first lap is very dangerous but I was looking for a good pace for the race, finally I could not catch up with Lorenzo, but I was very happy with the result. Like last year, this year I went well at Imola, the top 3 were all Ducati bikes so I am very happy.”
In the second race, Checa was unstoppable on the Ducati, the Spaniard setting a new best lap of 1:48.877. Haslam lost his shot at the title after his engine gave out, giving him a DNF. Haga was on the podium again, this time with a second-place finish, and Yamaha Sterilgard Cal Crutchlow took third.
Carlos Checa says: “It’s a fantastic weekend, I can’t remember one like that. It was a very good job by the team. Yesterday I was struggling on the wet, but today they were two exciting races, more the first than the second. But the second I could see that I could win, I just had to keep my concentration. Anyway it was fantastic, for all my team, for Ducati, for everyone here, congratulations to Max for the title and a shame for Leon Haslam.”
Noriyuki Haga says: “I am very happy today, and the bike was much better than in the first race. I was approaching Carlos in the last laps but couldn’t catch him. Now I try my best at Magny-Cours to improve my position.”
Cal Crutchlow says: “After a tough race 1 for me, to come from 12th on the grid with such close racing this weekend and such a depth of field was a very good result. I really had to work for it so all credit to Yamaha Sterilgarda, they did a good job for me especially in the second race. We made a few changes in the meantime, it was a bit of a gamble but a good job all round.”
Imola World Superbike – Race 1 Results:
1. 7 Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 38’27.631 (161,708 kph)
2. 57 Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1.171
3. 41 Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1.472
4. 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 6.691
5. 91 Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 9.584
6. 66 Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 10.979
7. 84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 15.023
8. 67 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 15.913
9. 50 Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 17.025
10. 35 Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 20.795
11. 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 21.243
12. 111 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 25.860
13. 99 Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 31.551
14. 76 Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR1000RR 31.689
15. 11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 44.349
Imola World Superbike – Race 2 Results:
1. 7 Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 38’24.452 (161,931 kph)
2. 41 Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 2.129
3. 35 Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 3.926
4. 66 Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 5.762
5. 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 7.025
6. 67 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 12.147
7. 57 Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 14.212
8. 50 Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 18.029
9. 111 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 18.249
10. 99 Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 19.446
11. 11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 23.674
12. 76 Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR1000RR 34.804
13. 90 Sandi F. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 53.540
14. 33 Lai F. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’03.102
15. 15 Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’07.185
RET 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Aprilia RSV4 Factory
World Superbike Points (after 12 rounds of 13): 1. Biaggi 413; 2. Haslam 350; 3. Rea 288; 4. Checa 274; 5. Crutchlow 239; 6. Haga 238; 7. Toseland 187; 8. Guintoli 184; 9.Fabrizio 169; 10.Corxser 165.
World Superbike Manufacturers Standings: 1. Aprilia 433; 2. Ducati 392; 3.Suzuki 379; 4.Yamaha 307; 5.Honda 305; 6. BMW 201; 7. Kawasaki 100.