2011 World Superbike: Miller Preview

USA World Superbike

For the fourth year, Miller Motorsports Park in Utah will host the US round of the World Superbike Championship during the BigM Weekend.

And as tradition, the 2011 WSBK in America will be held on the holiday weekend, with superpole on Sunday and both races on Monday, which is Memorial Day. There will be no support classes (including World Supersport) with World Superbike. Instead, the WSBK weekend runs with round 3 of the AMA Pro Racing series (American Superbike, Daytona SportBike, SuperSport and XR1200 Series).

Leading the World Superbike grid is Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa. The Spaniard has won four races (out of eight) in four rounds, and doubled at Miller WSBK in 2008. But last year, Checa had technical issues with the Ducati 1198R, which created to DNFs.

Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati 1198R) says: “Miller is a track that suits me very well; it is perhaps the best track for me and my riding style. I’d say that, seeing how both I and my bike are performing right now, that we will be able to adapt well to the track this year. We’ll see which tires are made available and work to find the best combination – I’m feeling confident. We have to finish what we were unable to finish last year.”

Checa currently has 145 points, and is 27 ahead of Yamaha World Superbike’s Marco Melandri. This will be Melandri’s first time at Miller Motorsports Park, but the Yamaha YZF-R1 is a proven performer at the American circuit; Ben Spies (current, Yamaha MotoGP) doubled in Miller en route to the 2009 World Superbike title.

Third in the 2011 WSBK championship points is the reigning champion, Max Biaggi. The Italian doubled at Miller last season en route to his title, and took over the championship lead after winning on the Aprilia RSV4.

Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) is in fourth, 28 points behind Biaggi, with the man who doubled at the last round in Monza, Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike) in fifth, four points behind Rea.

The 3.04-mile Miller Motorsports Park circuit, which lies 1300 meters above sea level, is located half-an-hour’s drive away from the capital Salt Lake City and is on the edge of the Great Salt Lake basin, not far from the world-famous Bonneville Salt Flats. The rarified atmosphere has an effect on performance, with engine power loss estimated at 10 percent.

2011 World Superbike Championship points after four of 13 rounds:

1. Carlos Checa )Ducati) 145

2. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 118

3. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 117

4. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 89

5. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 85

6. Leon Haslam (BMW) 84

7. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) 74

8. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 58

9. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 55

10. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) 47