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WSBK Imola Race highlights and rider quotes

After two rounds and four races, three of which Carlos Checa has won (one was a DNF), he is now leading in the World Superbike standings with four points over Max Biaggi, but the Althea Racing Team is still complaining, “We’re fighting with what we have available to us and are pretty satisfied, but of course we’re worried about another eventual increase in weight and the air restrictor.

Checa was able to conserve his tires much better than anyone else on the grid and even if the Ducati 1198 twin doesn’t reach the top speeds that Kawasaki rider Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz were able to put out at the fast and flowing Imola circuit (274.

2 compared to 280) the Spaniard was able to keep Skyes at 3.
206 seconds in Race 1 and 1.
935 seconds in Race 2.
Carlos Checa – 1st and 1st“Another incredible day, one more that I will never forget! At the beginning of race one I could see that Sykes had a very strong pace but I stuck with him.
When I realized that he was beginning to have trouble in certain places, I took the opportunity to get past him.

Then I was able to build a small advantage which meant I could finish comfortably ahead.
It was all an unknown today with the much colder conditions, we didn’t know what tyre to use but we took the risk of using that which we’d tested during the practice sessions (but on a much warmer track) – it was a risk but it paid off.
The second race was very similar to the first.
I made a small mistake near the beginning but was then able to find my rhythm.
I thank my team, the sponsor and of course the fans – it’s always great to win in Italy and I thank the spectators with whom I share these great emotions.
” Tom Sykes – 2nd and 2nd “The plan was to get a good start in race one and we had a very clean launch in the Kawasaki.
In the first nine laps or so it was just Carlos and I and saw there was a big gap behind us.
Carlos rode a great race, hats off to him, and he knew exactly what he was doing.
In race two I had a lot of pressure from Leon and Biaggi certainly in the last third of the race so I was forced to dig a little bit deep and it paid off.
I heard Leon’s engine there for a few laps but I found I had a little bit of a gap on the last lap so second position was good.
Overall I think it has been a very good weekend for myself and Kawasaki.
The Ninja ZX-10R has been great again – pole position, and two seconds in the races – so I do not think we could ask for much more.
”Leon Haslam – 3rd and 3rd “It has been a good weekend.
We had a good first race and managed to get a podium position which was my first in Imola.
I made a mistake in the beginning and third was the best result we could get.
In 2010, Max beat me in the world championship here in Imola, so it was nice to win that fight for the podium.
In race two I got a better start, but the top three got away again.
I managed to catch up and I really did feel that I could beat Tom, but in the end I made a few mistakes again.
Every time I pushed, I got a little bit of chatter and lost my line.
Overall, we are making progress and it is quite clear in which areas we still need to improve, but I am really happy with the first double podium for BMW.
We definitely made some good steps and a big, big thanks to all the guys at BMW.
For sure we will have some celebration tonight, but not too much, as we are testing tomorrow.
My ankle was a bit sore after the second race, but for Assen I should be 100 percent fit again.
”Max Biaggi – 4th and 4th“We couldn’t have done any better than we did today and the maths show it! Two identical placings, just off the podium, that I can say I’m fairly satisfied with.
My only regret is for Race 2 because my team and I were able to make some improvements compared to the first, but unfortunately not enough to stay in the top three.
We knew it would be difficult for us here and the low temperature didn’t help.
Now we’re concentrating on Assen and how to react in order to make trouble for the leaders.
” Eugene Laverty – 5th and 6th“A fifth and sixth place are not bad at all after the Superpole yesterday, but I won’t pretend I wouldn’t have liked to have been battling with the guys at the front.
I got a good start in both races and in the second we made some good progress on the RSV4 but the pace of the group up front was just too fast.
We need to keep working.
These two races were useful for providing a lot of information on the bike, we’ll work on that in the tests tomorrow in the hopes that that it will give us a hand even from the next round.
” Marco Melandri – 6th and 10th“I think I could say that it was a negative day for me.
In race one, we have been struggling with the gearbox and I went straight.
Afterwards I was working hard to catch up.
My pace was not too far from the top three guys.
In race two I had quite some issues with chattering, like it was the case at Phillip Island.
I could not push properly, and I destroyed the tyres so much more than in race one.
I could not do anything.
We do not know yet why the bike is changing.
We will work on this tomorrow and I hope that we are able to make some steps forward.
”Joan Lascorz – 7th and 9th “In race one I got hit by Leon Camier in the first chicane, and was lucky not to fall off.
I was well back but I worked hard to get nearer to the front.
In race two we made a change to the rear shock but it made no big difference.
I made one mistake and another rider hit me again and I lost five seconds.
I raced with a guy who won the race here last year so that shows how difficult it is in this class.
We have some good things to work on when we test tomorrow, and we will try another line of set-up to try to find even more.
”Jonathan Rea – 9th and 5thWell, it finished better than it started, for sure.
In the first race, we flat-out picked the wrong tyre – we didn’t do so much work on the hard tyre in the practices so we were reluctant to go with it.
Also, this was the first big temperature change we’d had and it got very cold.
But it’s been a bit of a frustrating weekend, to be honest, because our pace here last year was good enough for a win.
Our pace this year is the same but there’s two or three guys at the front going faster.
All in all, I’m happy to have points on the board in both races, and I’m really pleased with the way I rode in race two.
I got messed up with my rhythm in the first laps when some guys put me out at the chicane, but I got my head down and got back to the group and I was able to get to the front of them comfortably at the end.
I’m happy with my riding and happy that we have a test here tomorrow and then a two-day test at Assen to try and find the front feeling that I’ve been lacking.
John Hopkins – 13th and DNF“I made a decent start in race one but lost a few positions in the carnage in the first laps.
After that I kept my head down and tried to lap consistently.
I wanted to get used to being in a race situation again after such a long time.
Understandably my right arm was a bit sore after 21 laps, but I thought it’d be OK for race two.
But, almost right from the start, it began to pump up and soon I couldn’t hold on to the bars properly.
I knew it was impossible to ride competitively and because I didn’t want to anybody else in danger, I decided to pull in.
I’m realistic enough to know that I am not yet race fit, but there were positives that I can build on.
I know I’m going to be a lot stronger next time out for sure.
”Ayrton Badovini – 15th and 15th“The two points I got today, in front of my friends and on my home track, don’t give me any satisfaction.
Unfortunately it’s been a tough day and we have to work hard, starting from tomorrow.
”Hiroshi Aoyama – 18th and DNFIt’s been a very difficult weekend for me.
It was my first time racing at Imola and, of course, that doesn’t help to set up the bike but, anyhow, we set out to try and find a good feeling.
We couldn’t really find one but, in the first race, my pace was not too bad so we could catch up to twelfth position.
Starting from 23rd position, that wasn’t so bad.
But then the tyre started to drop and I started missing some gears and we ended up in a not very good position.
For the second race we changed the engine and we expected a better result.
Feeling-wise, it wasn’t so bad, but from the middle of the race, the engine started to slow a little bit and, in the end, it stopped.
So, it was not really a happy weekend, but for the next race at Assen I know the track a little bit so I hope we can have a better weekend.
Leon Camier DNF and 8th: “I’m not sure if my coming together with Lascorz was my fault or just a racing incident.
I made a reasonably good start and tried to make big gains straight away, passing a lot of people going into turn one.
At turn five, I went round the outside of Giugliano and when I got back on the racing line, Lascorz and I collided and that was the end of my race.
I managed to get the bike back to the pits, but crash damage prevented me from going out again.
I’m pretty happy to get eighth place in the second race today and think I could’ve finished even higher if it hadn’t been for my grid position.
I started pretty aggressively but soon fell into a good rhythm.
I was lapping strongly at the end and was catching the group ahead, so who knows what would’ve happened with a better grid position.
This series is very competitive and you have to be on the first two rows of the grid if you are to have any chance of a podium, so all things considering, eighth is pretty good.
” Davide Giugliano – DNF and DNF “This is not what we wanted today.
Congratulations to Carlos of course but I am so disappointed as far as my own day is concerned.
After the DNF of race 1 I was hoping to take a good result in the second race.
I made a fast start, making up some positions very quickly and then I battled for a few laps with Melandri who had a similar pace to me.
On the 14th lap I got ahead of him and wanted to maintain the pace to hold fifth place.
Unfortunately in the last seconds my bike came to a stop and I was unable to finish, game over.
A day to forget, we go to Assen where we hope to make up for this.
”Michel Fabrizio – DNF and DNF“It’s been a complicated week-end and without any reason to cheer because, due to a series of difficulties I couldn’t lap much during practice and even less in the two races.
We must look at tomorrow’s tests as a new beginning.

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