Results and summary of Race 1 for the World Superbikes at Miller Motorsports Park:
Carlos Checa has taken victory in the first World Superbike race at Miller, and taken it very much in the manner expected after practice, by a very comfortable margin. On a largely dry track, the Althea Ducati rider took an early lead, controlled the race from the front, and went unchallenged for the win.
Checa's start was not so promising, though. Off the line, Checa was quickly swamped by the riders behind him, with Troy Corser leading as they headed into Turn 1 in the lead, only to be passed by Max Biaggi on the Alitalia Aprilia on the way in. Biaggi's lead would not last long, as Corser was back again straight away, and was soon followed by Noriyuki Haga and Sylvain Guintoli. Checa would be the next man to pass Biaggi, and his backward progress must have caused the red mist to descend, for the next man to pass Biaggi would not get away unharmed. Johnny Rea slid past Biaggi, and this time, Biaggi responded, making a pass that was never going to work and taking both himself and Rea down. The Castrol Honda would later describe the move as Biaggi "doing a Simoncelli" on him, making a pass that left him nowhere to go.
After the first lap shook itself out, it was Corser who led across the line, with Nori Haga, Sylvain Guintoli and Carlos Checa close behind. Haga harried Corser, with Checa applying pressure to Guintoli, but Guintoli was the first to buckle. Once past the Liberty Ducati, Checa set his sights on the Pata Aprilia of Haga, but Haga would prove a tough nut to crack. As the two men battled over 2nd, Aprilia's Leon Camier and Yamaha's Eugene Laverty closed up from behind, looming on the front four.
On lap 5, Checa finally got past Haga, after the Japanese rider put up a summary defense of his position. A lap later, Checa was past Corser, and away. The Althea Ducati rider was on a charge, putting nearly a second a lap on the field, only slowing up a little once the gap reached 5 seconds. From that point on, Checa controlled the race from the front, only backing off at the end and going on to take a very comfortable victory.
Behind Checa, the fight was very far from over. Once the Spaniard had passed him, Troy Corser started going backwards in a hurry, his tires clearly incapable of coping with the conditions. First Haga passed, then Guintoli, Camier and Laverty, and Corser drifted back to mid-pack. Haga would be the next victim, losing touch once Guintoli and Camier passed the Pata Aprilia. Guintoli looked to have 2nd place firmly in hand, fending off challenges first by Eugene Laverty, then by his Effenbert Liberty Ducati teammate Jakub Smrz, but Smrz was flying by the end of the race. With three laps to go, Smrz finally got past his teammate, and started to reel Checa in. The gap, though, would prove too much, and Smrz was forced to settle for 2nd, with Guintoli taking the final spot on the podium, completing a Ducati clean sweep of the podium.
Checa's easy victory was topped off with a touch of farce, however. On the cool down lap, Checa ran off the track to pick up a Ducati flag to carry round the track, but he misjudged just how sodden the runoff had become at Miller. The Spaniard lowsided into the mud, and returned to parc ferme covered in gravel and dirt. Even that could not puncture the Althea Ducati rider's mood: his win, ably assisted by his rival's failings - Biaggi's crash and a 10th place finish by Marco Melandri - puts the Spaniard firmly in control of the championship. Checa leads Melandri by 46 points, though he was at pains to point out that there is still a very long way to go in the title race.
The weather looks like turning for race 2, with clouds gathering and spots of rain falling. But the weather has been totally unpredictable so far in Utah, and that is likely to continue until after the racing is done.
|1||7||C. CHECA||ESP||Ducati 1098R|
|2||96||J. SMRZ||CZE||Ducati 1098R||2.766|
|3||50||S. GUINTOLI||FRA||Ducati 1098R||4.093|
|4||2||L. CAMIER||GBR||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||8.885|
|5||58||E. LAVERTY||IRL||Yamaha YZF R1||15.718|
|6||66||T. SYKES||GBR||Kawasaki ZX-10R||20.477|
|7||86||A. BADOVINI||ITA||BMW S1000 RR||22.170|
|8||91||L. HASLAM||GBR||BMW S1000 RR||22.267|
|9||41||N. HAGA||JPN||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||24.087|
|10||33||M. MELANDRI||ITA||Yamaha YZF R1||27.150|
|11||121||M. BERGER||FRA||Ducati 1098R||29.422|
|12||12||J. WATERS||AUS||Suzuki GSX-R1000||33.428|
|13||11||T. CORSER||AUS||BMW S1000 RR||36.573|
|14||17||J. LASCORZ||ESP||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1'05.369|
|15||52||J. TOSELAND||GBR||BMW S1000 RR||1'14.382|
|16||8||M. AITCHISON||AUS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1'14.736|
|17||44||R. ROLFO||ITA||Kawasaki ZX-10R||2 Laps|
|RET||84||M. FABRIZIO||ITA||Suzuki GSX-R1000||18 Laps|
|RET||111||R. XAUS||ESP||Honda CBR1000RR||18 Laps|
|RET||4||J. REA||GBR||Honda CBR1000RR|
|RET||1||M. BIAGGI||ITA||Aprilia RSV4 Factory|