Haslam and Checa share opening day victories

Carlos Checa and Leon HaslamLeon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) and Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) took a win apiece at Phillip Island in what was a sensational start to the 2010 WSBK season in Australia. In dry conditions, in front of 65,500 fans, the action was intense in each 22-lap race, with the leading three riders within 0.769 seconds of each other in race one and the leading four within 0.837 seconds in race two.

“Pirelli’s opening race weekend saw spectacular racing with new faces on all accounts, starting from a Superpole led by Haslam, Fabrizio and Crutchlow on three different machines. Race 1 finished 7 seconds faster than previous year, a race so close between Suzuki and Ducati that it demanded a photo finish. New to Superbike, Sylvain Guintoli led Race 2 for many laps and set the Pirelli Best Lap on his first race on the Suzuki. Race time dropped by 4 seconds over 2009, and Checa impressively took his new bike and new team Althea straight to the top of the podium. The Supersport race, 5 seconds faster as well, Laverty lead a very precise race from start to finish on his Honda from Parkalgar. It’s fantastic to see such diverse results from all the manufacturers, especially at the start of the season.” Giorgio Barbier, Racing Director, Pirelli Moto.

Race 1

It took a close look at the photo finish images to split Leon Haslam from his race long rival Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox), but by only 0.004 seconds the Alstare Suzuki rider was given the win. It was the closest ever finish in the WSBK class, as Leon took his first career win in the Superbike World Championship. Fabrizio was originally awarded the victory but before the slow down lap had been completed, Haslam was confirmed as the winner. Noriyuki Haga took his Ducati Xerox machine to third, being part of the leading battle throughout.

Jonathan Rea, Max Biaggi, Sylvain Guintoli and Carlos Checa battled it out over fourth place, with Jakub Smrz, Troy Corser and Lorenzo Lanzi completing the first race top ten.

Haslam: “It’s not sunk in just yet, especially as it was such a close finish and not knowing if I had won for a while. That definitely added to the anticipation. I can’t thank my team enough they have been solid since day one and to repay them with this is great. I’m a little speechless now. I changed my style towards the end and I rode as smoothly as possible. It worked, but it was close at the end.”

Michel Fabrizio: “I thought I had won the race. When I saw the big screen after the finish I saw my family and the crew chief celebrating, so I thought I had it.”

Noriyuki Haga: “I did not have any big injury after my crash in morning warm-up but some swelling in my right arm. My personal trainer made a good massage before the race and I took some painkilling injections. The race was tough and I had arm pump, so that made me make some mistakes under braking. But it was fun to race with them at the front.”

Race 2

Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) won a thrilling race two at Phillip Island, by only 0.307 from Leon Haslam, whom he passed on the final section of the track, in convincing style. Third went to Michel Fabrizio, but a great ride from new SBK rider Sylvain Guintoli put him fourth on his Suzuki Alstare machine in only his fourth ever SBK event. Noriyuki Haga was fifth, Jonathan Rea heading up a busy and exciting midfield battle in sixth, after losing ten seconds by running wide on lap one, and then fighting through the pack. Troy Corser took his BMW to seventh in race two.

Carlos Checa: “The plan was to start the second race well and we chose a softer tyre. We changed the bike and we improved in the braking points, so I could overtake people. When you are close to four other riders it is not easy to overtake and make it permanent but I passed in the right time and at the right places. This was one of the best races in my life, so thanks to my new team.”

Leon Haslam: “I had a few laps behind Sylvain my team-mate and in some corners I could not stay with him given the grip he had out of the corners. But I got the lead again and it was all going to plan until Carlos managed to come along and nip up the inside to win.”

Michel Fabrizio: “We didn’t make any changes to the bike between race one and race two. I think it would have been very difficult for me to win, but if Carlos had not been in the mix I may have been able to push in the last three or four laps. I was having some problems by that time so it was very difficult to try and win.”

World Supersport – Laverty wins by clear margin

Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) won the opening race of the year by 4.359 seconds with a masterful display of front running, heading up the official Kawasaki of pole man Joan Lascorz and the Honda of Kenan Sofuoglu.

Laverty also set the race fastest lap, 1’35.204, on lap six.

The first attempt at the race was first stopped and finally abandoned due to oil being dropped on the track, and a complete-restart was called.

The subsequent 21-lap race saw Laverty lead from the early stages again. Behind Laverty, Lascorz and Sofuoglu, Triumph rider David Salom was fourth, and the privateer Kawasaki of Fabien Foret made it onto the top five also.

Pirelli Performance Awards:

SBK Race 1 – Pirelli BEST LAP
Leon Haslam (Team Suzuki Alstare)
1’32.193 (Lap 2)


SBK Race 2 – Pirelli BEST LAP
Sylvain Guintoli (Team Suzuki Alstare)
1’32.236 (Lap 3)


WSS – Pirelli BEST LAP
Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) 1’35.204 (Lap 6)


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