2011 WSBK Donington Race 1 Result - Victory Taken After Thrilling Comeback Ride

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.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Country Bike Diff
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

 

2011
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Total votes: 67

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Comments

Third paragraph contains... " Haslam soon opened up a bit of a gap to a chasing pack consisting of Aprilia's Leon Haslam"

Good to see Marco "slap" Max back. :-)

Total votes: 70

Too many Leons.... ;-)

Total votes: 71

Congrats to Marco - well deserved.

But for my money the ride of the race was Haga - I know, 9 seconds down, but he appears to be coming to grips with the RSV4 - and perhaps some personal demons?

Biaggi - has form with this sort of behaviour, he can go a dozen races without putting a wheel out of line but when he does have an off day he does it to the nth degree! Expect a precision ride next time out.

Total votes: 83

from Marco Melandri. He must be happy to have switched, he's on a competitive bike and starts winning again, and with style!
I feel a bit sad for Smrz, he deserves a win, hopefully he'll get it this season.
And what happened to Maxime Berger??? How on earth is it possible that your back wheel gets off your bike like that?
He was having problems with the bike even at the start of the warm-up lap but this could have been horrible if it had been at a moment when he was at high speed...how is he supposed to find confidence to race this bike ever again?

Total votes: 72

for the scary picture (and explanation)

Total votes: 71

Rim Manufacturer? That us what I want to know. If anybody knows that I would greatly appreciate it.

Total votes: 77

There are pics on another thread somewhere around here.

Total votes: 76

I'm really happy for Marco to win again as I've always rated him a fine rider. I wonder if after their tiff last year, whether Capirossi is looking across at Melandri enjoying being competitive and feeling just a little bit envious?
Was also really happy to see Smrz make good on his qualifying form and hopefully that top step is just around the corner for him.
Finally, I was very happy to see the continuing improved competitiveness of the new ZX-10R and had Sykes not tipped it over in the first race then they would likely have had multiple top 5's which can only be a good thing for the series.

Total votes: 69

Great win for Marco, what a ride :)

Total votes: 71