Checa and Spies Double Up in Superbike Action at Miller Motorsports Park TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH -- Carlos Checa powered to a sensational double win in the StriVectin-SD USA round of the HANNspree FIM Superbike World Championship at Miller ...
Checa and Spies Double Up in Superbike Action at Miller Motorsports Park
TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH -- Carlos Checa powered to a sensational double win in the StriVectin-SD USA round of the HANNspree FIM Superbike World Championship at Miller Motorsports Park on Sunday. The race, watched by the largest crowd of spectators in the track's history, marked World Superbike's return to the United States for the first time since 2004.
Checa, riding for Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, scored the first double win of his career and set fastest lap in both races to add to his Superpole win on Saturday, and in so doing gave Honda their 100th victory in the Superbike World Championship. With today's wins, Checa has reduced the gap to leader Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) in the championship standings to 28 points after the Australian left the USA with zero points after a crash in today's first race and a technical problem in the second.
The first race was reduced by one lap after a problem for Ducati Xerox's Michel Fabrizio on the grid and a subsequent restart. Rookie Checa took his first SBK win after starting from pole, moving into the lead on lap 4 and having an untroubled run to the flag. Second place went to an on-form Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB), who had not finished on the podium since the Spanish round at Valencia in early April, while Fabrizio powered his way up to third after concluding the opening lap in 14th place. The Italian passed Max Neukirchner (Alstare Suzuki) three laps from the end. Fifth place went to Fonsi Nieto (Suzuki Alstare) ahead of the surprising Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Ducati) and Karl Muggeridge (DF Racing Honda). Max Biaggi (Sterilgarda Go Eleven Ducati) could only finish ninth. The Italian, third at the end of the opening lap, went off the track after contact with Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB) and lost time. Championship leader Bayliss had a nasty crash on lap 5 at the final turn while battling for second, and so did Haga, who was racing with a broken right collarbone.
"This is a fantastic moment," said Checa. "We've been looking for it for so long. It was not easy because when I went out with the first bike, there was some problem; then I changed to the other bike, which worked well, and I'm completely satisfied. I've felt quite comfortable with this track all weekend, the bike and the tires have worked well, but we've improved overall and that helped me to win this race."
It took Checa until the ninth lap to take the lead in the second race but once there, he cruised to his second win of the day, and his first double victory. Neukirchner led the early laps, but once passed by Checa he settled for second, consolidating his third place in the championship. The final podium place went to Fabrizio, who again had a poor start, 12th at the end of lap 1, but he was the quickest man on the track in the final stages. Biaggi had a good run to fourth after holding on to third for much of the race, finishing ahead of Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki Alstare) and a heroic Haga, who will undergo a collarbone operation tomorrow to be fit for Germany's Nurburgring circuit in two weeks' time. Ninth place went to Regis Laconi (PSG-1 Corse), the first Kawasaki to the flag. Bayliss was out of the points again after returning to the pits to fix a loose gear shifter, while Corser was again heading for the podium in third but he crashed out on lap 17.
An ecstatic Checa said, "Well, I didn't have to wait ten years for another win; it was just two hours! After the first one we had to concentrate on the second, but now I'm free and can celebrate. For sure it's a special day today, but after all the tough work we did until now, the two victories came and this is one of the happiest days for me in this moment. For sure I was less laps alone in the second race, but in the end it was the same feeling. Two victories in America is fantastic."
Neukirchner was reasonably satisfied with his outcome, but looking forward to the next race at his home track. "I worked really hard," he said "In the first race we had some problems in the corners, and for entry it was not possible to go in the corners. We changed something on the front forks, and in the second race things were much better. I'm really happy that the next round is in front of my home crowd in Germany. There'll be a lot of fans coming, and we're going to have some fun there!"
It was mixed emotions for Fabrizio. "Again it's a great result," he said, "but this time I'm a little bit disappointed because I wanted to go one better and give some bother to Carlos, seeing as he ran two lonely races out there. I got another bad start, so as well as having to learn Superpole, I'm going to have to work more on my starts!"
In the Honda Summit of Speed for the AMA Superbike Championship, two-time and defending series champion Ben Spies completed a perfect weekend by leading every lap of the second of two AMA Superbike races and taking the championship lead from his Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate Mat Mladin. Spies entered the race with a nine-point deficit and left with two wins and a 39-point lead over the six-time champ, who crashed out of race one.
Jamie Hacking, riding the No. 2 Monster Energy Kawasaki, put in an impressive runner-up ride, landing his fourth-straight podium position. Hacking stalked and passed Honda Racing's Neil Hodgson, who took third, but couldn't catch Spies, who won by 6.89 seconds. Mladin took fourth today, with Michael Jordan Motorsports -- Suzuki rider Aaron Yates besting Hodgson's teammate, Miguel Duhamel, for fifth.
Geoff May, who claimed his first-career AMA win in Saturday's AMA Superstock race, took his Superstock-spec Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000 to seventh in Sunday's Superbike race, nearly tracking down Yates and Duhamel, while Yamaha Factory Racing teammates Jason DiSalvo and Eric Bostrom finished eighth and ninth, respectively, with Team ESP's Chris Peris completing the top 10.
Erion Honda Racing's Jake Zemke won a spectacular Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship race at Miller Motorsports Park on Sunday morning, topping an unpredictable three-way dogfight to the checkered flag that ended Yamaha's undefeated season record.
The resurgent Californian overcame dogged efforts from teammate Josh Hayes and Team M4 EMGO Suzuki's Blake Young, who impressed mightily while mixing it up with his more experienced rivals.
The combatants traded the lead several times before Zemke fended off a last-lap assault from Hayes. The Mississippian's task was made all the more difficult contending with Young, who dove up the inside of Hayes' Honda on the final lap, looking determined the steal the win. However, Young's race ended in heartbreak for a second consecutive day as his bike slowed drastically within sight of the finish line. He coasted across it in sixth position. Young's teammate, Cory West, capitalized on Young's misfortune, sailing past on the front straight to claim third, his first-ever AMA podium finish.
Graves Motorsports Yamaha's good fortune turned sour in Utah. Ben Bostrom, who led the series coming in, saw his race ruined before it began. He rolled into pit lane as the field took off following the warm-up lap and mounted his back-up bike, on cold tires and in dead last. After passing 25 riders on his way to 14th on the white-flag lap, he survived a high-speed crash and remounted, taking 21st at the checkered flag. Teammate Josh Herrin was running a solid fourth before bike problems stalled his charge at the halfway point. He was able to get going again to finish 19th.
Bostrom and Zemke now sit tied atop the points chase at 155, while Herrin remains third at 136.
Rockwall Honda's Aaron Gobert took fourth, followed by Graves Motorsports-backed Michael Beck. Tommy Aquino, another Graves Motorsports runner, Matsushima Suzuki's Garrett Carter, Attack Kawasaki's Chaz Davies, and Erion Honda's Shea Fouchek completed the top ten.
The two-wheeled action at Miller Motorsports Park continues next week with the WERA amateur motorcycle championship arriving for a weekend of racing. The next big event will be the GT LIVE West event, combining drifting, time attack, stunt bikes and more over the weekend of June 28-29.