2011 World Superbike
The World Superbike Championship headed to Nurburgring, Germany, this weekend for the 10th round of 2011, each race completed under vastly different weather conditions.
With the threat of rain looming in the Germany horizon, the WSBK grid was fortunate enough to run Race 1 under dry conditions. The current series leader, Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa, was in typical form, taking the race-1 win from the pole position.
Checa got to the turn 1 first, and after holding off an early charge from Pata Aprilia’s Noriyuki Haga, the Spaniard went on to open a gap on the field. Checa would eventually finish 1.85 seconds ahead of Yamaha World Superbike’s Marco Melandri, and 2.32 seconds ahead of Nitro Nori.
But the second race was completely different, with rain shortening the event from 20 to 13 laps. Teams only had about 10 minutes to switch to rain tires, but this didn’t bother the Kawasaki Racing Team.
Piloting the ZX-10R in the rain-filled race, Tom Sykes gave Kawasaki its first World Superbike win since 2006. It was also Sykes first-ever WSBK win.
But it wasn’t easy for the Brit; Haga led for most of the race until crashing under heavy rains that soaked the track. Sykes then ran a patient race, winning ahead of the Team Effenbert Liberty Ducati Team of Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz, respectively. Checa would finish eighth, not wanting to take risks while ahead in the World Superbike Championship.
As for the reigning World Superbike Champion, Alitalia Aprilia’s Max Biaggi, the Italian was forced to sit out both races due to injury during Nurburgring practice; A fracture to the metatarsus in Biaggi’s left foot kept the Corsair from riding onto the track, in spite of both Max’s and the Mobile Clinic doctors’ best efforts.
Max Biaggi (Alitalia Aprilia RSV4 Superbike) says: “I think it must be a Guinness world record to break a foot so badly without crashing! I tried everything I could to get onto the track today, but it was impossible to race under these conditions. The pain was just too severe. I am very disappointed. This is the first race that I’ve missed in 19 years of my career. Unfortunately we don’t have any control over hard luck, which I hope has been satisfied with this weekend because I would really like to finish out the season well”.
After Round 10 of 13, Checa now leads the World Superbike Championship with 376 points. He holds a 74 point advantage over Melandri in second position. Ducati also continues to lead the constructor’s championship with 400 points to Yamaha’s 351.
Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati 1198 Superbike) says: “(Sunday’s) first race was very special for me, and signifies my first ever SBK win at the Nürburgring. I would like to dedicate this result to Claudio Castiglioni, he was an extremely important figure in the motorcyling world and it is also in part thanks to him that we are here racing these bikes today. The race 1 result was very important in terms of the championship.
“I knew that it was important to increase the gap between me and Noriyuki in the first half of the race and this small advantage proved useful in the final stages when I began to suffer from a lack of grip. Race 2 on the other hand was one of the hardest races I’ve ever run. We were obliged to try to finish it of course but I was really suffering due to the sheer quantity of water and track conditions, and couldn’t even see as far as the next corner!
“I’m sorry for those who took risks and I’m also sorry that Biaggi was not racing with us today. I hope he gets better and that we’ll see him back at Imola. But for us it was a very positive day and I’m very happy with the outcome.”
Race 1 winner also commented on his first win in the World Superbike Championship.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki ZX-10R Superbike) says: “To get a first World Superbike win under my belt is fantastic, also with the new Kawasaki. Everybody in the team knows every time I put my leg over the bike it is all or nothing; that is the way I ride, and fortunately today that commitment paid off in race two.
“I got a gap behind me in the worst conditions but as the track had less water on it for a time, unfortunately our times seemed to tail off and I came under pressure from Sylvain. But as the standing water increased again we found our pace.
“In race one everything went to plan at the start but both the wrong tire choice and my physical condition did not help, so when it started raining I had a bit of a grin to myself. We changed the bike quite a lot from the last time in Misano when we got pole position so obviously it was a little bit of a gamble in wet conditions. The guys gave me a great package today.”
The series returns for Round 11 at Imola, Italy, Sept. 25.
2011 World Superbike: Nurburgring Race 1 Results:
1. Carlos Checa Ducati ESP 38’59.779
2. Marco Melandri Yamaha ITA 0’01.855
3. Noriyuki Haga Aprilia JPN 0’02.322
4. Eugene Laverty Yamaha GBR 0’07.789
5. Leon Haslam BMW GBR 0’09.727
6. Sylvain Guintoli Ducati FRA 0’10.113
7. Joan Lascorz Kawasaki ESP 0’17.226
8. Leon Camier Aprilia GBR 0’17.228
9. Ayrton Badovini BMW ITA 0’18.166
10 Jonathan Rea Honda GBR 0’19.457
11. Tom Sykes Kawasaki GBR 0’22.136
12. Mark Aitchison Kawasaki AUS 0’25.346
13. James Toseland BMW GBR 0’31.617
14. Roberto Rolfo Kawasaki ITA 0’31.796
15. Troy Corser BMW AUS 0’33.320
2011 World Superbike: Nurburgring Race 2 Results:
1. Tom Sykes Kawasaki GBR 29’49.337
2. Sylvain Guintoli Ducati FRA 0’04.063
3. Jakub Smrz Ducati CZE 0’22.759
4. Jonathan Rea Honda GBR 0’28.497
5. Eugene Laverty Yamaha GBR 0’38.374
6. Marco Melandri Yamaha ITA 0’45.326
7. Ayrton Badovini BMW ITA 0’47.030
8. Carlos Checa Ducati ESP 0’50.032
9. Leon Haslam BMW GBR 0’53.586
10. Maxime Berger Ducati FRA 0’55.261
11. Joan Lascorz Kawasaki ESP 1’12.805
12. Troy Corser BMW AUS 1’15.468
13. Roberto Rolfo Kawasaki ITA 1’40.323
2011 World Superbike World Standing (After 10 of 13 rounds)
1. Carlos Checa Ducati ESP 376
2. Marco Melandri Yamaha ITA 302
3. Max Biaggi Aprilia ITA 281
4. Eugene Laverty Yamaha GBR 232
5. Leon Haslam BMW GBR 176
6. Leon Camier Aprilia GBR 154
7. Michel Fabrizio Suzuki ITA 141
8. Sylvain Guintoli Ducati FRA 139
9. Ayrton Badovini BMW ITA 134
10. Noriyuki Haga Aprilia JPN 115
11. Tom Sykes Kawasaki GBR 114
12. Jonathan Rea Honda GBR 113
13. Joan Lascorz Kawasaki ESP 111
14. Jakub Smrz Ducati CZE 109
15. Troy Corser BMW AUS 67
16. Ruben Xaus Honda ESP 44