Press releases from the teams, circuit and Infront after the World Superbike round at Miller Motorsports Park:
CHECA (ALTHEA RACING) TRIUMPHS ONCE MORE AT THE MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK
Tooele (USA), Monday 28th May 2012: A spectacular race day for team Althea Racing and the World Superbike fans at the Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah, which saw Carlos Checa dominate in race one, winning with an advantage of more than two seconds.
Race 1 – in sunny conditions, Checa started from sixth position on the grid. On the second lap he was passed by Melandri and shortly afterwards both were able to get past race leader Sykes. On lap seven the Althea flagbearer got ahead of Melandri to take control of the race, remaining at the front of the pack until the finish line. Checa managed his race perfectly, keeping Melandri safely behind him and passing the chequered flag 2.3 seconds ahead of the BMW rider.
Giugliano had a less fortunate first race. He lost ground in the first laps, citing a lack of grip at the rear. At the end of the first lap he was down in tenth place. Unfortunately he lost a couple more positions on the next lap and then had to work hard to catch up from 13th position. Once past Berger and Badovini, he gave chase to Haslam and on lap eighteen he was able to get round him too, thus closing this first race in final eleventh position.
Race 2 – This time both Althea riders made a good start and by lap two Carlos was already in front, having passed both Melandri and Sykes, while Davide was in fifth position. Unfortunately a red flag stopped the race on the next lap, after Aoyama crashed, leaving oil on the track. The race was restarted, with 18 laps to run, an hour later. This time Carlos was almost immediately in first position, with Davide behind him in fifth. On the second lap the Spanish rider recorded the fastest lap of the race but, pushing to the limit, he unfortunately crashed out on the fifth lap when he lost the front. After a brief pitstop Carlos returned to the track but had lost too much ground; on lap thirteen his team called him back to the garage. Giugliano, now racing with a softer tyre with respect to race 1, battled first with Rea and then with Haslam, closing in seventh place and taking some important points. His was the first Ducati across the line in this second race.
At the end of this sixth round of the World SBK championship, Carlos Checa is now in fifth position in the general standings with 130.5 points, while Davide Giugliano now lies in ninth position with 64 points. Ducati continues to dominate in the manufacturer’s championship with 195.5 points to Aprilia’s 176.
“Race 1 - a great result, a great race, a great moment! I’ve always had a great relationship with this track and to win here again is just fantastic, especially after some difficult recent rounds. The race wasn’t an easy one and Melandri pushed right until the end, I couldn’t relax for a second! But I was feeling confident with the tyre that we had chosen and was able to make a great race. I had to work hard through the corners as we seemed to be losing a lot on the straights but I am very happy with the result, and happy for the entire team that has worked so hard this weekend. In this second race I was pushing, I was feeling confident with the setting but clearly I pushed a bit too hard and lost the front. I went back on track but there was nothing I could do, I’d lost too much ground.”
“In race 1 we made a conservative tyre choice knowing that it was the one everyone was using but it didn’t suit my riding style and I wasn’t able to ride as I wanted to, I just had to control the situation as best I could. In race 2 I was satisfied to be the first Ducati – although of course I’m really sorry for Carlos, as the win would surely have gone to him. It’s not an easy track for the Ducati, we were all losing so much along the straight but, considering that we couldn’t even stick in the slipstream of the four-cylinders, I think that seventh is not at all bad and we go towards Misano satisfied, and ready for what is one of my favourite tracks.”
Genesio Bevilacqua – General Manager of Althea Racing:
“A bittersweet day. In race 1 Carlos had to make extraordinary effort to manage the situation and keep the four-cylinders at bay. In the second he demonstrated a slight superiority in the first ‘heat’ but then the accident with Aoyama conditioned the second ‘heat’. Carlos made a good start, was pushing to stay ahead, but crashed, losing the chance to close the gap with the championship leaders. We’ll do everything to make up for this – everything is possible. Davide didn’t do as well as we’d hoped in the first race, as he did not have the right feeling with the tyre that we chose. In the second we let him race with the softer tyre and he demonstrated strong potential. There’s still work to do but it’s significant that, without Carlos, he was the first Ducati across the line.”
Rea goes four-and-two at Miller
Jonathan Rea took fourth and second place finishes in today’s two sixth round World Superbike championship races at Miller Motorsports Park in the USA.
The races were won by Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri, but Rea showed strongly in both 21-lap outings, the second of which was curtailed followed a crash involving Rea’s Honda World Superbike team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama.
Aoyama, who finished 17th in the first outing, was unhurt in the third lap crash at the 4.9km Miller circuit just outside Salt Lake City in Utah. However, the Japanese rider’s CBR1000RR struck a curb in the crash which holed the engine.
Rea re-started the delayed race from sixth place on the grid and, after early leader Carlos Checa crashed out, the 25-year-old was quickly embroiled in a thrilling four-way tussle for the lead with Marco Melandri, Chaz Davies and Max Biaggi.
Taking the lead on lap 11, Rea controlled the race until the final lap, with the superior handling of his CBR1000RR clearly visible in the twistier parts of the track. However, Melandri had the edge on speed down Miller’s 1.2km straight and Rea finally crossed the line just 0.2s behind the Italian.
Jonathan Rea – 4th and 2nd
We knew we had good pace for today but I had some front chatter in race one. It was coming from the engine braking so we released that a bit for race two. We changed the front tyre as well, because the temperature had gone up. That gave me the confidence to push because I knew the guys in front in race one had used the same one. It was good, and my guys gave me a little bit more power off the turn. It’s clear to see how well the bike is working and how much traction I’ve got. It’s just the big, long straight here at Salt Lake where we’ve been down on speed. Without dwelling on the negatives, my guys gave me a great bike and it’s working really well. I’ve got real confidence now and don’t feel like I’m riding on the edge – it’s quite controlled, which is a good thing, so thanks to all the team for their continued hard work. Nobody’s giving up and, without thinking about the championship, it’s just n ice to come back here to the winner’s enclosure and be on the podium. After the nightmare of last year at Miller, it’s really cool to be fighting for wins.
Hiroshi Aoyama – 17th and DNF
It’s been a difficult first time here at Miller for me. We started with rain and improved each session but not enough to catch up with the others. This morning I felt really good in warm-up so I was hoping that I could make a really good race. But in race one I had a problem and went off the track about three times and it was really difficult to finish the race without crashing. In the second race I wanted to make things better and was really motivated, but I pushed a little too hard and crashed. I’m lucky that I’m not hurt so I can look forward to Misano now, which is a track that I know.
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a very good day for Hiroshi, with 17th in race one and a crash early in race two. At least he’s not hurt, so we’ll go to Misano, a track that he knows, and keep working and pushing to get him more comfortable on the bike to show what a good rider he is. For sure, he can do better than he is doing at the moment, so we’ll stay positive to motivate him and help him get closer to the front. For Jonathan it’s been a very good day with two great results. Fourth in race one was followed by a fight for the win in race two right up until the very last lap. Well done to him, the team, the crew around him. It’s been a really good day.
Checa up and down as Melandri wins another
Miller Motorsports Park (USA), Monday 28 May 2012 – On a sunny race day at Miller Motorsports Park the sixth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship delivered some great action and two different race winners to the 49,000 strong weekend crowd. In a landmark day for the series, race one saw World Superbike reach its 600th individual race mark.
Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) took one race victory apiece, but the weekend winner was the rider who finished third each time today, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing). With his haul of 32 points Biaggi now leads the series by 18, from Melandri and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team). Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) was the other podium finisher today, second in race two, and after scoring fourth in race one he is fourth overall and only 1.5 points from Melandri and Sykes.
It was a truly up and down day for Checa, as he fell in race two. His fourth no-score of the season, coming along so shortly after his fourth race win, puts him fifth overall.
Checa pulled a controlled win out of the bag, eventually heading home Melandri by 2.313 seconds. Third was Biaggi who had to work hard in the final laps to hold off Rea. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing) finished fifth, with pole man Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati) sixth. Slowing front row starter Tom Sykes was finally caught by Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Aprilia) with Davies seventh and Sykes eighth.
Carlos Checa: “I had a great time and I always enjoy coming to America, spending time around here, and I always feel really well at this track. It is a fantastic moment for me to win again, get on the podium, to take a victory, so some great feelings come back. It is a really special day for all the Americans here as it is Memorial Day so I want to dedicate this victory to you.”
Marco Melandri: “I was struggling a lot last year so to get such a good race was amazing for me. I tried to make life not easy for Carlos but when I came back in the end, I tried to come back to him a few times but I made a mistake. So, for the last lap I chose not to try too much because it was easy to make another mistake. Second place was good for me after such a tough qualifying.”
Max Biaggi: “It is good to be on the podium and I appreciate the third position. I had a long fight with Rea and his Honda and we got good points for the championship. In the end I could not go faster than that. On the first lap with so many riders there was a battle and I am happy now because we had a good race and finally we got some California-style weather.”
Results: 1. Checa (Ducati) 21 Laps/103.047 km in 38'21.283 average 161.201 kph; 2. Melandri (BMW) 2.313; 3. Biaggi (Aprilia) 5.338; 4. Rea (Honda) 5.517; 5. Laverty (Aprilia) 12.201; 6. Smrz (Ducati) 13.262; 7. Davies (Aprilia) 19.662; 8. Sykes (Kawasaki) 21.292; 9. Fabrizio (BMW) 21.450; 10. Haslam (BMW) 23.433; 11. Giugliano (Ducati) 23.696; 12. Guintoli (Ducati) 24.752; 13. Camier (Suzuki) 29.400; 14. Badovini (BMW) 31.222; 15. Baz (Kawasaki) 32.966; 16. Berger (Ducati) 35.409; etc.
Melandri and Rea went 1-2 in the second race at Miller, which was halted, shortened to 18 laps, and then re-started late after an oil spill following a crash. The wait was worth it for the spectators as the last lap fight was tense and exciting right up until Melandri took his second win of 2012, by only 0.195 seconds. Biaggi was third and Davies fourth, easily the SBK rookie’s best result of the year. Fifth was Sykes, sixth came Laverty, with Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) seventh. Early leader Carlos Checa was unlucky to fall and no score.
Marco Melandri: “It was such a difficult race for me, I was lucky for sure when Carlos made a mistake. I was struggling a little bit with a full fuel tank but after 50% of the race it was getting better. When Johnny passed me he was much faster than me, and I lost a bit of concentration, so Max passed me and then Chaz Davies did as well. So I tried to stay calm, take my rhythm and try to get a good feeling to catch Johnny. I was very lucky because my engine was so strong so I could pass him on the straight. Otherwise for me it would have been really difficult to pass him. So a podium in race one and a win in race two is really unbelievable.”
Jonathan Rea: “Marco made some mistakes in the middle of the race and then I was making some mistakes at the end of the race. He was really strong but I am just so happy to come out of Miller with a fourth and a second. It is so nice to be here on the podium in America. I grew up watching AMA motocross and it was my dream to come to America and race. My team did a fantastic job. We have been lacking a little bit in a straight line but it is unbelievable everywhere else and I could really push to the maximum.”
Max Biaggi: “To come all the way to Utah and finish on the podium twice is not so bad, but my dream was to win a race. But there were some other guys who did a better job than me so third position is not so bad. I am not super happy, but not so bad.”
Results: 1. Melandri (BMW) 18 Laps/88.326 km in 32'56.257 average 160.897 kph; 2. Rea (Honda) 0.195; 3. Biaggi (Aprilia) 2.137; 4. Davies (Aprilia) 4.245; 5. Sykes (Kawasaki) 9.534; 6. Laverty (Aprilia) 9.798; 7. Giugliano (Ducati) 11.891; 8. Haslam (BMW) 12.715; 9. Smrz (Ducati) 13.017; 10. Guintoli (Ducati) 13.703; 11. Camier (Suzuki) 15.687; 12. Fabrizio (BMW) 21.923; 13. Badovini (BMW) 23.940; 14. Baz (Kawasaki) 24.051; 15. Berger (Ducati) 33.897; 16. Hopkins (Suzuki) 38.692; etc.
Points (after 6 of 14 rounds): 1. Biaggi 160.5; 2. Melandri 142.5; 3. Sykes 142.5; 4. Rea 141; 5. Checa 130.5; 6. Haslam 103; 7. Guintoli 95; 8. Laverty 86; 9. Giugliano 64; 10. Smrz 61.5; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 195.5; 2. BMW 176; 3. Aprilia 171; 4. Kawasaki 148.5; 5. Honda 145; 6. Suzuki 48.5.
Official Tyre Supplier
"The two overseas World Superbike races held at Miller Motorsports Park offered Pirelli important feedback for its work over the last few months with the new R302 rear tyre, developed from the reference SC1 compound as an alternative for use also under lower temperatures and to prevent cold tearing often encountered with the use of soft compounds in harsh conditions. The R302 solution was first used by SBK riders at the Imola test, followed by a successful first-race showing at Donington Park in mid-May receiving great appreciation from nearly all riders. For this reason Pirelli made available this tyre for the USA round which proved positive: in both R1 and R2 the R302 solution was preferred to the SC1 and SC2 reference tyres by 20 of 24 SBK riders on the grid, and as a demonstration of its excellent adaptability to the various motorcycle makes, in the first 5 positions for both races were seated four different teams. We leave the USA very satisfied with how this weekend unfolded both for how this new tyre performed as well as how it positively contributed to the two very equal and winning races." - Giorgio Barbier, Racing Director, Pirelli Moto
Pirelli BEST LAP Awards:
SBK Race 1 – Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 1'48.867 (Lap 18)
SBK Race 2 – Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) 1'48.820 (Lap 2)
Total BEST LAP (SBK): Checa C. (Althea Racing) 4, Biaggi M. (Aprilia Racing Team) 3, Sykes T. (Kawasaki Racing Team) 2, Guintoli S. (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) 1, Melandri M. (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 1
BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Salt Lake City - Races
Another victory, another second place, another best race lap, the best ever points result and P2 in the Riders’ and the Manufacturers’ classification of the FIM Superbike World Championship: for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport makes this “Memorial Day” at Salt Lake City (USA) a memorable one. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) took his second victory on the BMW S 1000 RR in race two at “Miller Motorsports Park” after finishing second in race one. With his team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) crossing the line in tenth and eighth, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport collected a total of 59 points from the races today. The previous best result was the 48 points collected at Imola (ITA) earlier this season.
At the start of race one, Marco used the long straight and the powerful BMW engine of his RR to catapult himself from ninth into the leading group. Soon he was second, taking the lead on lap five. He was able to build a slight gap, but then it was Carlos Checa (ESP), who approached from behind and overtook Marco at the beginning of lap eight. Checa and Marco remained the leading duo until the chequered flag, pulling away from the rest of the field. In the closing stages of the race, Marco rode the fastest lap time with 1:48.867 min. He stayed on Checa’s tail, waiting for the right moment to pass, but then settled for second behind Checa on the final lap. Leon improved from 13th to eighth in the first laps, but then was suffering from the same issues he was struggling with throughout the weekend. He crossed the line in tenth.
In race two, Marco had an even better start, passing the whole field on the outside and being in the lead going into the first corner. He lost the lead, but was fighting in the leading group again when the race had to be red flagged after lap four as the track had to be cleaned after an accident. At the restart, Marco was third on the grid and Leon had improved to ninth during the opening laps before the red flag. Marco again shot off the line, taking the lead, but he was passed by Checa while still on the first lap. When the Spaniard crashed on lap six, Marco was back at the top and a nail-biting battle began. On lap eleven, the BMW Motorrad rider slipped back to third behind the new leader Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies (both GBR). It did not take long for Marco to regain second position and he started to chase Rea. Before starting the last lap, he caught Rea on the long straight, took the lead and defended it to the finish line. Leon improved one position during the race and came home in eighth.
In the Riders’ Championship, Marco improved from fifth to second with 142.5 points, 18 points behind the leader Max Biaggi (ITA). Leon is sixth with 103 points. In the Manufacturers’ Standings BMW improved to second with 176 points behind Ducati (195.5). BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team’s Michel Fabrizio (ITA) was ninth and 12th, his team-mate Ayrton Badovini (ITA) 14th and 13th.
Result Race 1: 2nd / Gap to 1st: 00:02.313 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:48.867 min
Result Race 2: 1st / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:49.001 min
“It is amazing. My team and BMW did an awesome job. Here in Miller it was my worst weekend last year, and it was the worst for BMW, too. So going home with two podiums, a win and a second place, is like a dream. In race one, I was pushing like in qualifying from the first lap until the end. The tyre was working very well until the end. Yesterday we were struggling a bit too much, but today fortunately the weather was better for us. And I was feeling even more comfortable on the bike with less fuel in the tank. I tried to make the life not easy to Carlos, but in some corners, I could not go his line with the four cylinder bike. I tried to catch him, but on the last lap I tried not to push too much because it was easy to make a mistake, and a second place and the podium was good after such a tough qualifying.
In race two, for sure I had a little bit of luck with Carlo crashing. I was struggling a bit in the beginning, and when Johnny passed me I lost the concentration. It took me some time to catch him. But again, when the fuel level dropped down I felt so much better on the bike and fortunately I could pass Johnny on the straight because my BMW engine was so strong. Otherwise it would have been very difficult for me to try to make a pass. I am happy because the bike is working well on different types of tracks. But now we have to be focused, we cannot think that we are going to be on the top every Sunday so we have to keep working. But my team made a great job, thanks to everyone, to all the guys back in Germany. I am so happy and proud to be with BMW. This is the best team I ever worked with.”
Result Race 1: 10th / Gap to 1st: 00:23.433 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:49.728 min
Result Race 2: 8th / Gap to 1st: 00:12.715 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:49.492 min
“It was a tough weekend. Everything that could have gone wrong did this weekend. Due to electrical issues and other things we missed a lot of track time. In race one we were struggling with the engine brake. For race two we made good steps, the boys had worked very well, but we need to do more. Our lap time was not too bad in race two, but it is not where we should be. The main thing we need to work on is the engine braking.
The long break between the red flag and the restart was a positive thing for me because we could reassess the bike and make some more changes after we lost a lot of time over the weekend. I got a good feeling over the first three laps and we made some more changes for the second part which brought another small improvement. Marco rode well over the whole weekend and now I look forward to Misano where I know we can challenge for the wins again.”
Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director):
“What a fantastic day for BMW Motorrad Motorsport! Having in mind the extremely difficult weekend we experienced here at Miller last year, for sure we would not have expected today’s results. We knew that we had made steps forward, but we would not have dreamed of winning here. Marco was with the top from the first practice session on until today. Unfortunately it did not run smoothly for Leon this weekend. He had electrical issues and only had very few laps to set up the bike. To make matters worse, he had a puncture in Superpole. I am convinced that at Misano, Leon will be among the frontrunners again.
So far we have been competitive on every circuit we raced on this season. And for Misano we again expect to be fighting for the victory. Tonight we are going to celebrate – after our one-two victory at Donington came with a bitter after-taste, the whole team has deserved a real party tonight. A big thank you to Marco and Leon, to the whole team here at the race track and in Stephanskirchen and Munich. Each of them contributed to this great result.”
CAMIER JUST MISSES MILLER WSB TOP-10
Team Suzuki Press Office - May 29.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier narrowly missed out on a top-10 finish in today's second race of the sixth round of the World Superbike Championship from Miller Motorsports Park in America.
Camier made a good start and was in 11th position when the race was stopped due to another rider crashing on the track and spilling oil. After a lengthy delay to clean the circuit, the race was re-started with the riders in the positions where the initial race was stopped. - meaning Camier started from row three in 11th place. He again got a good start and pushed his way into the top-10, before getting involved in a long battle with Sylvain Guintoli. Camier eventually had to settle for 11th, finishing just over 15 seconds behind the race-winner - a positive performance considering his initial grid position of 20th. Camier had a good start in race one as well, but got involved in a mid-field battle that eventually saw him bring his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R home in 13th.
John Hopkins had a torrid race-day on his return to the team from injury. He crashed out of race one after his FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R hit a kerb and slid from underneath him, fortunately he walked away uninjured. In race two Hopkins suffered with a technical issue that caused him to lose power. He battled all the way to the line to try and secure a points-scoring position, before eventually bringing his machine home safely in 16th. He was disappointed with the results, but pleased to have completed such an exhausting race with no ill-effects from his recent injuries and confident of making big steps when the championship returns to Europe.
Today's races were held in bright and sunny conditions with air temperatures pushing up to 20°C. Current World Champion Carlos Checa won the first race on a Ducati, with Marco Melandri taking victory in the second on a BMW. Max Biaggi on an Aprilia strengthened his position at the head of the riders' Championship by taking third place in both races.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now travel back to its base in England to ready itself for the next races of the season, which are scheduled for Misano in Italy on Sunday June 10th.
"We knew today would be difficult because of our grid position. This championship is so competitive that you need to be on the first two rows of the grid if you want a shot at the podium. I made good starts and progressed well in both races and rode as hard as I could today. They were a couple of tough races, but I was happy with my race pace and know that I could've finished a lot higher up if I had started with a better grid position. I feel we'll definitely be better at the more twisty tracks - like our next race in Misano - and I am looking forward to qualifying better and fighting for a top-six or a podium."
"I'm happy to be back with the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team, but disappointed that I was only able to do seven laps in the first race. I clipped the kerb with the generator cover and was flicked off and that was that. Luckily I didn't hurt myself, but afterwards I was really looking forward to race two and doing better. I started OK but, as the race wore on, my bike began to suffer with a technical problem and I couldn't push as hard as I would've liked. I kept going as fast as I could, but just missed out on the points."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"Leon rode as hard as he could and I'm happy because he did everything we asked of him. He kept the bike upright and brought it home in both races. If he had qualified on the first two rows of the grid, I think his race pace would've been good enough for a top-six finish.
"It was good to have John back and we were all looking forward to him completing two races today and getting back into the groove. Fortunately he was unhurt in his crash in race one and a technical problem in race two meant that he couldn't fight for a top-10 finish. It was a shame because his race pace in qualifying had been pretty good and I'm sure that he would've finished much higher if he hadn't had the problem. This series is tough and having to start so far down the grid makes life even more difficult. We're going to have to qualify better and give ourselves a chance of good results, but I am positive we can do that with the quality of the riders we have and the team behind them."
Checa, Melandri Win at Miller Motorsports Park
Hayes, O’Hara claim AMA victories; ‘Quest for 200’ continues
TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (May 28, 2012) — What was shaping up to be a third weekend sweep at Miller Motorsports Park for reigning Superbike World Champion Carlos Checa of Spain wound up only 50-percent satisfactory for the popular Spanish rider known affectionately as “King Carlos.”
After winning the first of two races for the FIM Superbike World Championship, the featured events of the BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil, Checa crashed while leading the second race, handing the lead and eventual victory to BMW’s Marco Melandri, who scored the German marque’s second series win in as many race weekends.
Checa, riding the No. 7 Althea Ducati 1098R, was dominant in the first 21-lap race, posting a 1.346sec margin of victory over the No. 33 BMW S1000 RR of Italy’s Marco Melandri. Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes got a great start and took the early lead, but Melandri got by to take the lead on Lap 5 and led three laps before being overhauled by Checa, who never looked back. Melandri, who won BMW’s first-ever World Superbike race at England’s Donington Park two weeks ago, powered through to second place, 2.313sec behind Checa. Max Biaggi, aboard the No. 3 Aprilia RSV4 Factory, claimed third place, crossing the finish line just over three seconds behind Melandri. Jonathan Rea (No. 65 Honda CBR 1000RR) and Biaggi’s teammate Eugene Laverty (No. 58 Aprilia) were fourth and fifth, respectively. Polesitter Jakub Smrz, Chaz Davies, Sykes, Michele Fabrizio and Melandri’s teammate Leon Haslam filled out the top 10.
“I had a great time and I always enjoy coming to America, spending time around here, and I always feel really well at this track,” Checa said in the post-race press conference. “It is a fantastic moment for me to win again, get on the podium, to take a victory, so some great feelings come back. It is a really special day for all the Americans here as it is Memorial Day, so I want to dedicate this victory to you.”
The second race started much the same as the first, with Sykes jumping out to an early lead. Checa blasted past after two laps and looked to be checking out again, but a crash and subsequent oil spill by Honda’s Hiroshi Aoyama on the fourth lap brought out the red flag. It took approximately 90 minutes to get the track cleaned and a complete restart was staged with 18 laps remaining to run. Checa again took the lead and held the point for five more laps, but a Lap-6 crash at Turn 5 put an end to his hopes for a third MMP sweep (he won both World Superbike races here in 2008 and 2011). With Checa’s exit, Melandri was elevated to the race lead. A titanic battle with Rea ensued, with Melandri leading Laps 6-10 before Rea got past to lead Laps 11-17. Melandri made a bold, last-lap pass to secure BMW’s second World Superbike win, edging a charging Rea by 0.195sec.
Biaggi claimed the final podium spot, almost two full seconds behind Rea, with Davies and Sykes filling out the top five. Laverty, Checa’s teammate Davide Giugliano, Haslam, Smrz and his teammate Sylvain Guintoli completed the top 10.
“It was such a difficult race for me,” Melandri said afterwards. “I was lucky for sure when Carlos made a mistake. I was struggling a little bit with a full fuel tank, but after 50 percent of the race it was getting better. When Johnny passed me he was much faster than me, and I lost a bit of concentration, so Max passed me and then Chaz Davies did as well. So I tried to stay calm, take my rhythm and try to get a good feeling to catch Johnny. I was very lucky because my engine was so strong, so I could pass him on the straight. Otherwise, for me it would have been really difficult to pass him. So a podium in race one and a win in race two is really unbelievable.”
Two-time and defending series champion Josh Hayes regained the championship points lead in today’s AMA Pro National Guard Superbike Championship race, putting in a decisive and dominant race on No.1 Monster Energy Graves Yahama R1. Hayes checked out from pole position and never looked back, taking the checkered flag 7.774sec ahead of teammate Josh Herrin (No. 2) to give Yamaha a 1-2 victory. Herrin emerged atop a vicious back-and-forth, last-lap battle with Blake Young’s No. 79 Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 to claim the runner-up spot, with Young settling for third. Completing the top five were Team Hero’s Geoff May (No. 99 EBR 1190RS) and Ben Bostrom (No. 23 Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000). Danny Eslick, Larry Pegram, Chris Clark, David Anthony and Chris Fillmore rounded out the top 10.
“What an awesome day,” Hayes said after the race. “The bike was good; things have been pretty smooth for the weekend. We didn’t really make too many changes, and we just worked on getting good, clean laps. All in all, it was a pretty smooth run.
“We couldn’t have asked for much more today. It was a beautiful day for racing. It was a perfect Memorial Day. Having the National Guard as the primary sponsor of our series, it was fantastic that on Memorial Day we would be able to put on a good show for them,” he continued. “Thanks to all the servicemen and women out there who support us, and hopefully they were entertained by the show under the umbrella they provide for us.”
In the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 series race, Tyler O’Hara became the first series rider to score a second win this season with a convincing triumph on his No. 29 Bartel’s Harley-Davidson XR1200. Kyle Wyman finished second, 4.261sec behind, on his No. 33 KLR Group/Vesrah entry, with O’Hara’s teammate Michael Barnes claiming the final step on the podium on his No. 34 machine.
“Ever since we unloaded the bike off the truck, it’s been awesome,” O’Hara said. “I rode here a few years ago on the Supermoto track, and wanted to be out here. I’m just really comfortable on this track; it’s fast and flowing. I ran really hard tires and was comfortable out there sliding around. I put in a good charge at the beginning, and just maintained the lead.”
“Quest for 200” Update: Unfortunately, no World Superbike rider was able to surpass 200 mph on Miller Motorsports Park’s 3,500-foot front straightaway for the first time, which would have made Miller Motorsports Park the fastest natural-terrain road racing circuit in America. However, it was very close: in today’s first World Superbike race, Melandri, Biaggi and Laverty each recorded a top speed of 198.35. As a result, the prizes in the “Quest for 200” contest went unclaimed until another day.
Attendance for the weekend was estimated at 49,000 by Infront Motor Sports, the Italian-based company that owns and operates the FIM Superbike World Championship.
The next major event at Miller Motorsports Park will be the third annual appearance of the Lucas Oil Offroad Racing Series, which will take to MMP’s Off Road Short Course over the weekend of June 23-24.
To obtain tickets for or information about Miller Motorsports Park, visit the track’s website at www.MillerMotorsportsPark.com or call 435-277-RACE (7223).