Carlos Checa shines at Miller

Carlos Checa had a perfect weekend at Miller, taking both World Superbike wins and extending his lead.
Carlos Checa had a perfect weekend at Miller, taking both World Superbike wins and extending his lead.

So it was cold and wet for the Canadian superbike series at Mirabel near Montreal; no surprise there. It was a bit of a surprise, however, that it was cold and wet in the Utah desert near Salt Lake City, as the World Superbike circus made its annual pilgrimage to Miller Motorsports Park.

Not that the weather made much difference to series leader Carlos Checa. The Spaniard apparently loves the track, and his Ducati works supremely well here. Checa took a double win in 2009, would have done so in 2010 except for two freak mechanical failures, and this year whacked everyone with pole position and flag-to-flag victories in both races. Can’t get much better than that.

Aprilia's Leon Camier had a better weekend than the team's number one rider, Max Biaggi.

Checa led a clean sweep for Ducati in the first race, with Effernbert-Liberty Racing Ducati team-mates Jakub Smrz and Sylvain Guintoli (a previous BSB superbike champion) filling out the podium.

They were followed by Aprilia’s Leon Camier with Yamaha’s Eugene Laverty taking fifth and Tom Sykes getting an encouraging sixth on his factory Kawasaki. Camier’s Aprilia team leader Max Biaggi and Castrol Honda’s Jonathon Rea had an on-track disagreement on the first lap that put both of them out.

We were going to put another action shot of one of the riders here, but you probably know what they all look like by now...

It wasn’t a great race for the BMW factory team; while both Troy Corser and Leon Haslam finished in the points, Ayrton Badovini on the Italian distributor-backed bike beat them both.

In the second race, Checa just vanished, building a sound lead on the first lap and then quietly motoring away to an apparently relaxed seven-plus second victory. The two Aprilias followed him to the podium, with Leon Camier decisively beating Max Biaggi into second.

Fourth went to Laverty, the Irishman continuing his strong run after his first wins at Misano earlier in May. Michel Fabrizio, riding well on the only Suzuki in the series this year, came back from a first-race crash for a good fifth.

After five of 13 events (10 of 26 races) Checa has six victories and a solid lead, and is looking quite comfortable on the bike.

The next event is June 12 at Misano, back in Italy.

Series standings after 10 of 26 races:

1. Carlos Checa, Spain, Althea Ducati, 195
2. Marco Melandri, Italy, Yamaha Factory Racing, 134
3. Max Biaggi, Alitalia Aprilia, 133
4. Eugene Laverty, U.K., Yamaha Factory Racing, 109
5. Leon Haslam, U.K., BMW Motorrad Motorsport, 95
6. Jonathon Rea, U.K., Ten Kate Castrol Honda, 94
7. Leon Camier, U.K., Alitalia Aprilia, 91
8. Michel Fabrizio, Italy, Alstare Suzuki, 85
9. Jakub Smrz, Czech Republic, Effernbert-Liberty Racing Ducati, 83
10. TIE, Sylvain Guintoli, France, Effernbert-Liberty Racing Ducati, and Noriuki Haga, Japan, Pata Aprilia, 54

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