Results and summary of World Superbike race 1 at Donington:
Marco Melandri has taken his first ever victory in World Superbikes. The Yamaha rider fought his way through the field to catch and pass the leader, Jakub Smrz, to take a convincing win in the first race at Donington.
Few would have bet on Melandri after the start. Melandri got caught up in a tough group in the early stages, and he wasn't the only one. The uncontested favorite, Carlos Checa, who had qualified on pole and looked dominant all weekend, got a disastrous start, getting bumped all the way down to 11th in the opening laps.
Instead, it was BMW's Leon Haslam that got the holeshot, seizing the lead at a track he knows like the back of his hand, as his father "Rocket" Ron had a race school there for many years, before the track closed temporarily last year. Haslam soon opened up a bit of a gap to a chasing pack consisting of Aprilia's Leon Camier, the Effenbert Liberty Ducati of Smrz, Kawasaki's Tom Sykes, with Castrol Honda's Johnny Rea closing on the group.
By lap 6, Smrz had closed Haslam down, and passed the BMW rider a lap later. Once past, Smrz started to gap the field, building up a lead of nearly four seconds at one point. The Czech rider looked to be comfortably on his way to his first ever win in World Superbikes.
But that was reckoning without Marco Melandri. While Haslam's BMW was fast, it remains a handful, as Haslam's valiant efforts at holding off the charging pack would prove. Where Camier, Sykes, and Nori Haga could find no way past, Marco Melandri - once having disposed of Max Biaggi in a rerun of the vendetta from qualifying - soon nudged Haslam aside, sliding through on the brakes at the Old Hairpin on lap 17.
Melandri was now off and chasing, and closing Smrz down in rapid tempo. The Italian was on Smrz' tail within three laps, getting past the Effenbert Ducati with just over a lap to go, as Smrz' rear tire was starting to give out on him. Melandri went on to take a comfortable win, leaving Smrz to settle for 2nd.
Last man on the podium was Carlos Checa, the Althea Ducati rider having battled his way forward throughout the race, disposing of his rivals one-by-one, catching Haslam at the penultimate corner, round the Melbourne hairpin.
Most surprising ride of the day came from the reigning World Champion Max Biaggi. The Italian had ridded a mistake-strewn race, running wide at Redgate multiple times, and repeating the trick at Melbourne, the Esses and Goddards. Biaggi finished the race in 7th, behind Haslam, Rea and Haga, most of whom he had passed at one point, only to cede the position once again.
|1||33||M. MELANDRI||ITA||Yamaha YZF R1|
|2||96||J. SMRZ||CZE||Ducati 1098R||2.455|
|3||7||C. CHECA||ESP||Ducati 1098R||5.839|
|4||91||L. HASLAM||GBR||BMW S1000 RR||6.176|
|5||4||J. REA||GBR||Honda CBR1000RR||9.039|
|6||41||N. HAGA||JPN||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||9.215|
|7||1||M. BIAGGI||ITA||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||9.960|
|8||2||L. CAMIER||GBR||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||14.860|
|9||11||T. CORSER||AUS||BMW S1000 RR||14.877|
|10||17||J. LASCORZ||ESP||Kawasaki ZX-10R||16.182|
|11||50||S. GUINTOLI||FRA||Ducati 1098R||25.820|
|12||111||R. XAUS||ESP||Honda CBR1000RR||28.378|
|13||86||A. BADOVINI||ITA||BMW S1000 RR||31.869|
|14||44||R. ROLFO||ITA||Kawasaki ZX-10R||40.015|
|15||8||M. AITCHISON||AUS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1'00.128|
|RET||66||T. SYKES||GBR||Kawasaki ZX-10R||6 Laps|
|RET||84||M. FABRIZIO||ITA||Suzuki GSX-R1000||9 Laps|
|RET||121||M. BERGER||FRA||Ducati 1098R||18 Laps|
|RET||58||E. LAVERTY||IRL||Yamaha YZF R1||20 Laps|