2011 World Superbike
The penultimate round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship got underway in typical style for Carlos Checa Friday at Magny-Cours, France.
The Althea Ducati rider, who currently leads the WSBK Championship by 97 points over Yamaha’s Marco Melandri, set the pace, posting a 1:38.652, which is close to the lap record set by Noriyuki Haga in 2009 aboard the Ducati (1:38.619).
If Checa keeps up this pace, he’ll surely clinch the 2011 World SBK Championship before the season finale at Portimao. Checa, who has won 12 races in 11 rounds, only needs three points to grab his first-ever World SBK title, which would also be the first time for a Spaniard in the series’ 24-year history.
Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati 1198R Superbike) says: “We’ve worked really well today. We’re missing a little grip and so concentrated on that for pretty much the entire session and by the end it looks like we found something. In these temperatures I guess it‟s going to be a problem for most people but we’ll work more on that tomorrow.
“For the most part we’re satisfied of course. I was able to find a good rhythm and record some fast times. There are a number of us within just a few tenths of each other so I think we‟ll see some close racing come Sunday.”
But Checa wasn’t the only quick rider around Magny-Cours; Yamaha WSBK’s Eugene Laverty was only 0.012 of a second slower than Checa, with Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati’s Sylvain Guintoli only 0.089 of a second behind Checa.
The factory Kawasaki ZX-10R ridden by Tom Sykes was fifth fastest, with Guintoli’s teammate Jakub Smrz fifth fastest.
The man who won race 1 last weekend at Imola while using a Ride-by-wire system aboard the Castrol Honda CBR1000 RR, Jonathan Rea, was sixth fastest with a 1:38.957; he was followed by 0.020 of a second by BMW Motorrad’s Leon Haslam.
Rounding out the top 10 in Q1 for Magny-Cours World Superbike were Noriyuki Haga (Pata Racing Aprilia), BMW Motorrad’s Troy Corser and Kawasaki’s Joan Lascorz.
As for Melandri, he was 14th fastest during q1, 0.681 off Checa’s time. The other man who was challenging Checa for the title, Alitalia Aprilia’s Max Biaggi, did not start due to his injuries from Nurburgring.
The World Superbike grid will be back on Magny-Cours Saturday for another qualifying session ahead of Superpole.
2011 World Superbike: Magny-Cours Qualifying 1 Results
1. C. Checa (Ducati), 1’38.652
2. E. Laverty (Yamaha), 1’38.664
3. S. Guintoli (Ducati), 1’38.741
4. T. Sykes (Kawasaki), 1’38.860
5. J. Smrz (Ducati), 1’38.942
6. J. Rea (Honda), 1’38.957
7. L. Haslam (BMW), 1’38.977
8. N. Haga (Pata Aprilia), 1’39.019
9. T. Corser (BMW), 1’39.025
10. J. Lascorz (Kawasaki), 1’39.063