2011 World SuperbikeWhen Ducati pulled all factory efforts from the 2011 World Championship, the private Althea team quickly became the favorite to carry the Italian manufacturer’s weight through the series.
This was due to the man who would be piloting the Ducati 1198R – Carlos Checa. The Spaniard finished third in the 2010 World Superbike Championship, behind winner Max Biaggi (Alitalia Aprilia) and Leon Haslam (Alstare Suzuki).And when the 2011 WSBK season opened at Phillip Island, the Althea Ducati team showed the grid its dominance, doubling at the Australian round. The team remained in top form, winning 11 races in 10 rounds.Now the series heads to the historic Imola in Italy this weekend for Round 11 of 13, a favorite circuit for Ducati fans. And due to his optimal performances on the private Ducati 1198 R, Checa enters Imola with a 74-point lead over Yamaha’s Marco Melandri.With 376 points, Checa only needs 26 points to clinch the championship, which would be his first-ever at 38-year old and this is very possible, considering he doubled there last weekend. And Imola is a lucky track for the older generation of riders; at 39-years old, Biaggi clinched the 2010 World SBK Championship with one round remaining last season.But Melandri is will have some extra incentive at Misano, also, considering it’s the third home race for the Italian (Monza, Misano), and he was quickest at the Misano testing last week.But its been a while since Melandri competed at Imola; his last outing was in 1999 aboard a 125cc MotoGP machine, although he won that race.The man third in the championship, Biaggi, is questionable due to breaking some bones in his foot during Nurburgring World Superbike. Biaggi hit some debris on the track during practice, and the Italian sustained a fracture to the metatarsus in his left foot kept the Corsair from riding onto the track, in spite of both Max’s and the Mobile Clinic doctors’ best efforts.Heading into round 11 at Imola, Biaggi trails Melandri by 21 points, and Checa by 96. There were more than enough points for him to possible acheive a second title, but if he misses Imola his shot at a second title is unlikely, especially if Checa and Melandri perform in usual top form.With their points, Checa, Melandri and Biaggi are the only riders who have a chance at the 2011 title. In fourth in the championship is Melandri’s teammate Eugene Laverty (232 points), with BMW’s Leon Haslam in fifth with 167 points.As for news in machinery at Imola, the Castrol Honda CBR1000RR of Jonathan Rea will debut with “ride-by-wire” throttle control, which will give the Irishman that extra push he needs to compete with the top players.As for wildcard entries, there will be three Italians, including one who will join Checa: Federico Sandi (Althea Racing Ducati), Matteo Baiocco and Alessandro Polita (Barni Racing Team Ducati).The World Superbike grid will be on the 16-turn, 3.1-mile Imola circuit Friday for the first practice sessions, followed by Superpole Saturday and both races on Sunday.
Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory + Steve ’Stavros’ Parrish
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly podcast—Motos and Friends. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
Our first segment features the new Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory. Senior Editor Nic de Sena brings us his report on the flagship version of Aprilia’s upright middleweight machine. He gives us insight into whether it’s worth spending the extra money on the Factory version, and also of course, whether this sporting Aprilia is really the motorcycle for you.
The next guest segment of Motos and Friends is brought to you by the faster and most technologically advanced, 2023 Suzuki Hayabusa—one of the most iconic sportbikes ever. Check it out in person at your local Suzuki dealer now, or visit suzukicycles.com to learn more.
In this segment, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with (arguably) one of the most interesting Suzuki race riders of all time. the iconic RG500 alongside teammate double World Champion Barry Sheene. The two were almost as famous for their exploits off-track, as for their success on it. Those were the days! Steve also raced the Isle of Man TT for about ten years where he won 13 Silver Replicas, and got a podium finish. His insight into that particular brand of mayhem are fascinating.
But there’s waaay more to Steve Parrish than his motorcycle racing. He is also the most successful Semi-Truck racer ever, and, little known piece of useless trivia—he’s my birthday twin: 24th February. He is a natural entertainer and you can’t miss his recounting of the world’s most entertaining—and arguably terrifying—double-decker bus ride ever. If any of you were actually on that hell-ride then we’d love to hear from you!