Utah: Miller Motorsports Park Saturday notes

Checa Takes SBK Superpole, Spies Wins in AMA Superbike at Miller Motorsports Park TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH -- Carlos Checa, riding the No. 7 Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, notched up the first Superpole of his short HANNspree Superbike World...

Checa Takes SBK Superpole, Spies Wins in AMA Superbike at Miller Motorsports Park

TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH -- Carlos Checa, riding the No. 7 Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, notched up the first Superpole of his short HANNspree Superbike World Championship career at on Saturday at Miller Motorsports Park. The 35-year-old Spanish rider, in just his sixth race in the series, powered his Honda CBR1000RR to a new lap-record time of 1:48.193 around the 3.048-mile Outer Circuit. Qualifying second overall, just three tenths in arrears, was the recent Monza round winner, Germany's Max Neukirchner on his No. 76 Suzuki Alstare GSX-R1000. The front row of the grid was completed by Ducati Xerox factory teammates Troy Bayliss and Michel Fabrizio on their 1098 F08 machines.

"We worked well today," Checa said. "I had an incident this morning, so there is always something to improve and something to fix. But finally I was so concentrated in the lap I did. I tried to be as clean and effective as possible. I knew that I was able to be in the 48s, but I didn't expect 48 low and when I saw that time it was a great surprise and a great satisfaction to be on the pole for the first time. Now the start tomorrow is the next step we need to improve! I will try to do a good race tomorrow; for sure we have some chance of winning, because we have shown our potential in the last few races, and especially here. The bike is now working well and I'm also confident with the tires, so you never know."

Neukirchner also expressed pleasure with his effort, saying, "I'm really happy about the position and I think I did a great lap. I had some problems yesterday with the chassis, and in particular I was losing a lot of time in the final split, but we found a good way to improve and we were much quicker than yesterday. I think we found a good race set-up, and I hope I'm tomorrow I'm in front. Here on this track it's going to be really hard; the times are very close and I'm sure it'll be a big fight."

Troy Corser (No. 11 Yamaha Motor Italia WSB) had been quickest after two qualifying sessions but was unable to repeat his performance in the one-lap Superpole session and just missed out on the front row of the grid by a fraction. Lining up alongside the Australian will be Spain's Ruben Xaus (No. 111 Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati), Frenchman Regis Laconi (No. 55 Kawasaki PSG-1 Corse) and Japan's Yukio Kagayama (No. 34 Suzuki Alstare).

The third row of the grid for the two races is headed by Max Biaggi (No. 3 Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati), who put in a good performance despite still recovering from a recent injury. The Italian finished a couple of tenths of a second ahead of a courageous Noriyuki Haga (No. 41 Yamaha Motor Italia WSB), who took part in Superpole with a broken right collarbone following a crash in the morning's qualifying session.

Race one for the HANNspree Superbike World Championship is scheduled for 12:00 pm on Sunday, with the second race of the StriVectin-SD USA Round taking the start at 3:30 pm.

In the first of two races for the AMA Superbike Championship, defending champion Ben Spies was unchallenged from start to finish after his chief rival and teammate, six-time series champ Mat Mladin, crashed on lap two.

While Mladin walked back to the pits uninjured, Spies, a 23-year-old Texan who rides the No. 1 Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000, went on to beat Jamie Hacking (No. 2 Monster Energy Kawasaki ZX-10R) by 1.601 sec. after 14 laps. Neil Hodgson, the 2003 Superbike World Champion, placed third on his No. 100 factory Honda CBR1000RR with Aaron Yates (No. 20 Michael Jordan Motorsports -- Suzuki GSX-R1000) and Hodgson's teammate Miguel Duhamel filling out the top five.

With his fifth consecutive win and pole position, Spies vaulted into the championship lead with a 29-point advantage over Mladin.

In the nine-lap AMA Superstock Series presented by Dynojet race, Geoff May, on his No. 99 Michael Jordan Motor Sports Suzuki GSX-R1000, claimed his first AMA victory with a dominating performance. Once working past M4 EMGO Suzuki's Blake Young (who took the holeshot but was judged to have rolled at the start and was issued a stop-and-go penalty) and Team ESP's Chris Peris in the race's opening lap-and-a-half, May checked out and had to battle his nerves more than his opponents en route to the checkered flag.

After surviving one big moment late in the race, the ecstatic Georgian crossed the stripe with a stand-up wheelie before shaking his fists in a combination of joy and relief.

Points leader Aaron Yates gave the Jordan Suzuki squad a 1-2 result, working past polesitter Jake Holden on the No. 59 Corona Extra Honda Racing CBR1000RR and building up a cushion before taking the flag 2.553 sec. behind May. After winning the previous two races, Holden sits second in the championship, while May holds steady at third in points with his winning performance.

In qualifying for the AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei, Erion Honda Racing's Jake Zemke snapped Yamaha's perfect 2008 pole streak, edging rival Ben Bostrom for the top spot with a quick lap of 2:51.045.

Zemke said he made a mistake on his fastest lap of the 4.5-mile Full Circuit and was expecting it would take a time in the 2:50s to secure the pole, but Graves Motorsports Yamaha star Bostrom had problems as well, crashing at speed without injury on his intended fast lap. Bostrom's 2:51.266 was still easily good enough for second on the grid, with third-ranked Josh Hayes more than a second behind the top two qualifiers.

Attack Kawasaki's Steve Rapp rounded out the front row, with Bobby Fong, Aaron Gobert, Blake Young and Tommy Aquino filling out the second row.

The AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship will be Sunday's fist race at 10:30 am, while the second race for the AMA Superbike Championship will take place at 2:00 pm.

In off-track news, a Helmet Art Party on Friday night at the Miller Motorsports Park Club House raised over $6800 to benefit the Children's Justice Center in Tooele. A variety of artists, both local and national contributed their work to the project toe benefit this very good cause.

On Saturday, "King" Kenny Roberts, the legendary multi-time World Champion American motorcycle racer and team owner, thrilled fans in the Club House by stopping by to autograph his photo in Legends Hall.

The HANNspree Superbike World Championship(R) StriVectin-SD(R) USA Round and Honda Summit of Speed AMA Superbike Championship weekend is the biggest event ever staged at Miller Motorsports Park, and may well be the biggest international sporting event in the State of Utah since the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Superbike World Championship races will be broadcast live on 95 television networks to 173 countries and an estimated television audience of 120 million.

In addition to the on-track action, there is a myriad of off-track entertainment for fans including stunt bikes, freestyle motocross exhibitions, live bands, helicopter rides and sky diving.


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About this article
Series AMA , World Superbike
Drivers Steve Rapp , Miguel Duhamel , Max Biaggi , Carlos Checa , Joshua Hayes , Troy Bayliss , Jamie Hacking , Kenny Roberts Jr. , Aaron Yates , Noriyuki Haga , Neil Hodgson , Ruben Xaus , Jake Zemke , Ben Spies , Troy Corser , Aaron Gobert , Yukio Kagayama , Michel Fabrizio , Chris Peris , Blake Young , Max Neukirchner , Bobby Fong , Jake Holden , Laconi Régis , Tommy Aquino , Ben Bostrom