Spain’s Carlos Checa became the first rider since Neil Hodgson in 2003 to win both races at a World Superbike Championship season opener, winning both legs of the 2011 season opener at Phillip Island on Sunday.
Checa (Ducati) has barely put a wheel wrong as he topped all but one session through the weekend.
Two race wins means he leaves Australia with a full quota of 50 points, though he may be a little disheartened to see he only commands a fairly slim 10-point advantage over Max Biaggi (Aprilia), who kept Checa honest with two second place finishes.
“Here we have something extra, maybe the bike works really well at this track and I like it as well. We did a great job in testing, practice and qualifying but you never know, conditions can change. I made a gap, controlled the race, went fast lap by lap, but it’s a fantastic winning start for me and the team,” said Checa.
Performing well around a circuit that Biaggi insists doesn’t suit the Aprilia RSV-4, it’s worth noting that the reigning champion scored just 19 points at Phillip Island in 2010.
Leon Haslam (BMW) and Marco Melandri (Yamaha) shared third position after claiming a third and fifth place finish each, the latter proving particularly impressive on his Superbike debut in which he wasn’t afraid to get stuck in from the start.
Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) was fifth after two solid top-10 finishes, ahead of Jonathan Rea (Honda) and Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia), while Tom Sykes finished eighth after keeping himself out of trouble aboard the Kawasaki.
In all, 18 riders scored in Australia – including the two wild-card riders Bryan Staring and Josh Waters – with just Joan Lascorz, Mark Aitchison, Sylvain Guintoli and Maxime Berger failing to get on the scoreboard.
2011 World Superbike Championship rider standings:
1. Carlos Checa Althea Ducati 50
2. Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia40
3. Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 27
4. Marco Melandri Yamaha SBK27
5. Michel Fabrizio Suzuki Alstare 18
6. Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda 17
7. Noriyuki Haga PATA Aprilia 16
8. Tom Sykes Kawasaki RTS 15
9. Eugene Laverty Yamaha SBK14
10. Jakub Smrz Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 14
11. Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia 13
12. Roberto Rolfo Pedercini Kawasaki 9
13. Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 6
14. Troy Corser BMW Motorrad 6
15. Josh Waters Yoshimura Suzuki 3
16. James Toseland BMW Italia 2
17. Ayrton Badovini BMW Italia 2
18. Bryan Staring Pedercini Kawasaki 1
2011 World Supersport Championship rider standings
1. Luca Scassa ParkinGO Yamaha 25
2. Broc Parkes Kawasaki Motocard.com20
3. Sam Lowes Parkalgar Honda 16
4. David Salom Kawasaki Motocard.com13
5. Robbin Harms Benjan Harms Honda 11
6. James Ellison Bogdanka PTR Honda 10
7. Florian Marino Ten Kate Honda 9
8. Vittorio Iannuzzo Lorenzini Kawasaki 8
9. Alexander Lundh Cresto Guide Honda7
10. Danilo Dell’Omo Suriano Triumph 6
11. Ronan Quarmby Suriano Triumph 5
12. Ondrej Jezek SMS Honda 4
13. Bastien Chesaux Moto Academy Honda 3
14. Balazs Nemeth Team Hungary Toth Honda 2
15. Imre Toth Team Hungary Toth Honda 1