2011 World Superbike
Last year, the all-new Motorland Aragon circuit became the fourth Spanish venue on the MotoGP Calendar. The 3.155-mile circuit, which replaced Balatonring, is under contract to remain on the MotoGP calender until 2016.
As the news spread throughout the FIM motorcycle-racing scene, many questioned when World Superbike would arrive there. Then in May of last year, two months after MotoGP became a fixture at Aragon, the World Superbike Championship was on board, signed until 2013.
And although some of the WSBK riders piloted their respective machines around Aragon during winter testing, the track is making it’s official race debut this weekend for Round 7 of 2011 World Superbike.
Could it possibly be a better debut for Carlos Checa? The Althea Ducati throttles into his home circuit with eight of 12 race-wins under his leathers, including doubles at the last two rounds (Miller Motorsports Park, Misano).
With six of 13 rounds completed, the 38-year-old Ducati 1198R pilot has a 72-point lead over Alitalia Aprilia’s Max Biaggi.And if that’s not enough incentive for Checa to put on another stellar performance, he was the fastest rider during the World Superbike winter testing at the Aragon.
Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati 1198R Superbike) says: “I really liked the track when we tested there last winter and we now travel there in the best possible circumstances. It is a left-handed track and as you know I prefer those, though I’m also getting to grips with right-handers too!
“I’m really enthusiastic and happy to race in my home country. It’s the first time that Superbikes come to Aragon and I would love to give the Spanish public two great races. Spanish interest in the SBK championship is on the rise and so I hope that this event can help promote the championship from a media point of view. I think the fans will really enjoy themselves this weekend. I thank everyone that has worked to make the Motorland Aragon event a reality.”
As for the reigning World Superbike Champion Biaggi, he rode to double second-place finishes at Misano last weekend. His performances may have been better, but he was riding with a swollen left foot due to a crash during Free Practice for the Misano round. Further evaluation showed that the Italian fractured his astragalus cartilage (talus bone in the foot). And with only a few days off, Biaggi didn’t have enough time to heal.
Max Biaggi (Alitalia Aprilia RSV4 Superbike) says: “I certainly won’t be at 100 percent, but I would say that I managed quite well at Misano and I will certainly not pull back now. I only hope that I can work with the team without too many problems and hindrances: if we want to keep the championship open we have no choice.
“I like the circuit. From the first tests I saw that we can really make a difference here and I think that it is a track where the RSV4 can also express itself well. If we are able to have some clear ideas when race time arrives then we will surely be able to make a play for it.”
Third in the points race is Yamaha World Superbike’s Marco Melandri, who is 23 points behind Biaggi. Heading into last weekend’s round in Misano, Melandri had second place. But due to a DNF (crash) in race 2 at Misano, he lost the position to his fellow countryman Biaggi.
Melandri’s teammate, Eugene Laverty, hovers alone in fourth with 123 points. The Brit doubled in Monza this year, but like his teammate, he took a podium in Race 1 last week in Misano, followed by a DNF due to crash.
The final rider with over 100 points is BMW Motorrad’s Leon Haslam, who continues to chase his first win in 2011 World Superbike.
As for absences, Castrol Honda’s Jonathan Rea will miss the round due to breaking his right arm and collarbone during the warm-up lap at Misano. The still healing BMW Motorrad Italia’s James Toseland will also be absent, but is planning a return to Brno.
2011 Aragon World Superbike TV Schedule:
SPEED TV will broadcast Aragon World Superbike on Sunday, June 19. Race 1 is slated for 3 p.m., followed by Race 2 at 4 p.m.
2011 World Superbike Point Standings (After 6 of 13 Rounds):
1. Carlos Checa, Ducati 245
2. Max Biaggi, Aprilia 173
3. Marco Melandri, Yamaha 150
4. Eugene Laverty, Yamaha 123
5. Leon Haslam, BMW 106
6. Leon Camier, Aprilia 101
7. Michel Fabrizio, Suzuki 95
8. Jonathan Rea, Honda 94
9. Jakub Smrz, Ducati 83
10. Sylvain Guintoli, Ducati 72
11. Ayrton Badovini, BMW 72
12. Noriyuki Haga, Aprilia 70
13. Tom Sykes, Kawasaki 65
14. Joan Lascorz, Kawasaki 53
15. Troy Corser, BMW 49
16. Ruben Xaus, Honda 44
17. Roberto Rolfo, Kawasaki 19
18. Maxime Berger, Ducati 18
19. Mark Aitchison, Kawasaki 9
20. Chris Vermeulen, Kawasaki 8
21. Joshua Waters, Suzuki 8
22. Lorenzo Lanzi, BMW 6
23. Matteo Baiocco, Ducati 4
24. Alessandro Polita, Ducati 3
25. Barry Veneman, BMW 3
26. James Toseland, BMW 3
27. Fabrizio Lai, Honda 1
28. Bryan Staring, Kawasaki 1