Checa up front in Utah


WSB under the Utah mountains

For the first time in nearly half a decade, WSB returned to North America with a round at Miller Motorsports Park, near Tooele, Utah. The teams uniformly raved about the facility, many saying it was better than most of the European and Asian tracks they usually raced on.

The competition left a bit to be desired, however, as Carlos Checa pretty much put paid to his old "Careless Chucker" nickname, taking Superpole and then running two flawless races on his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda for a double win – his first in WSB.


Carlos Checa unbeatable

In race one, Checa was followed home by Troy Corser on the Yamaha Motor Italia R-1 and then by Michel Fabrizio on the factory Xerox Ducati. Fabrizio’s team leader (and series leader) Troy Bayliss had a rare crash, as did Corser’s team-mate Noriyuki Haga, who incredibly was racing with a broken collarbone suffered in a Saturday practice crash.

Even more incredible, Nitro Nori shrugged off this crash ("it’s OK, it’s the right collar bone and I landed on my left side") and raced to a remarkable sixth in the second race.

You think you’re tough? Sheesh.

Max Neukirchner followed Checa home in race two on his Alstare Suzuki, while Fabrizio duplicated his first-race effort with a horrible start and an incredible charge through the field to take the last podium spot.

Bayliss retired from this race with shifter problems, making three races in a row he hasn’t scored a point. He still leads the series, but Checa made big inroads on that lead this weekend while Neukirchner isn’t that much farther back in third.

The next round is at the Nurburgring in Germany in two weeks.

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