Sport Superbikes World SBK World Superbike Championship: Round 2 Imola, Italy

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World Superbike Championship: Round 2 Imola, Italy Hot

Carlos Checa leading in the World Superbike Championship at Imola.

Although Round 2 of the World Superbike Championship was held in Imola, Italy, both races of the day went to Spain. Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) took first place in both of Sunday's races, while the Italian favorite, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) never even made it to the podium. Checa's double win on Sunday puts him ahead in points at 75, with Biaggi trailing just behind at 71.

Round 1 Recap

Round 1 at Phillips Island, Australia, saw both Checa and Biaggi taking the chequered flag. Race 1 went to Biaggi, while Checa performed a nasty 120 mph highsider coming out of the fast left into the start/finish straightaway; fortunately he walked off the track unscathed.

Round 2 Imola, Italy

Over 75,000 spectators showed up at Imola to watch the 25 World Superbike riders tear up the 3.067-mile track's 22 turns. Earlier in the weekend, British rider Tom Sykes dominated the qualifying laps as he set a new record of 1:46:748 and secured the pole position. Sykes' pole position translated into two second place finishes behind the hard charging Checa. Sunday's races also saw Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad) take to the podium for the first time at Imola, not once, but twice, in the third place position.

Imola Race 1

Sykes immediately took the lead with his Kawasaki ZX-10R, while behind him, four riders collided through the first turn. Meanwhile, Checa, who started third on the grid, kept his 1198R right on Sykes' tail and eventually passed him in lap 11. The Ducati rider maintained his lead throughout the rest of Race 1, putting down the fastest lap of the race at 1:47.877. After Sykes and Haslam, came the hometown hero Biaggi, who no doubt was hoping to place higher on his home turf. Fifth place came down to an intense battle between Marco Melandri,  Eugene Laverty (Aprilla Racing), and Joan Lascorz (Kawaski), until Melandri swept ahead of the pack at the last moment.

Imola Race 2

Race 2 got off to a similar start, but this time Sykes captured the lap record with a blistering 1:47.877. By lap 7, it seemed as though Biaggi might finally make his way to the podium as he held close to Haslam. Yet, by lap 14, when Checa passed Sykes the race fell into a repeat of the first, with Checa crossing the finish line 1.935 seconds before Sykes. Biaggi again landed in fourth, followed by a much better performing Jonathan Rea (Honda).

Superbike fans now hold their breath for another two weeks until Round 3 kicks off on April 22nd  in Assen, Netherlands.

2012 World Superbike Point Standings:

  1. Carlos Checa, Ducati, 75 points
  2. Max Biaggi, Aprilia, 71
  3. Tom Sykes, Kawasaki, 69
  4. Leon Haslam, BMW, 47
  5. Marco Melandri, BMW, 46
  6. Jonathan Rea, Honda, 40
  7. Jakub Smrz, Ducati, 30
  8. Eugene Laverty, Aprilia, 29
  9. Sylvain Guintoli, Ducati, 21
  10. Maxime Berger, Ducati, 20
  11. Lorenzo Zanetti, Ducati, 18
  12. Joan Lascorz, Kawasaki, 17
  13. Hiroshi Aoyama, Honda, 15
  14. Leon Camier, Suzuki, 12
  15. Niccolò Canepa, Ducati, 12
  16. Michel Fabrizio, BMW, 10
  17. Davide Giugliano, Ducati, 10
  18. Bryan Staring, Kawasaki, 6
  19. John Hopkins, Suzuki, 3
  20. Chaz Davies, Aprilia, 2
  21. Leandro Mercado, Kawasaki, 2
  22. David Salom, Kawasaki, 2
  23. Ayrton Badovini, BMW, 2
  24. Joshua Brookes, Suzuki, 1
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