If you thought the World Superbike racing at Donington Park was spectacular earlier this year, then the first race of yesterday’s Silverstone round has to go down as one of the all time classics thanks largely to the rain and the two wheeled gladiators who ensured a series of almost never ending changes at the front. Victory in both races went to Frenchmen.
Loris Baz took his first ever victory in race one whilst Sylvain Guintoli took a Ducati victory in the second upon his debut with his new Pata team. For the Althea squad it was more of a mixed bag with a good solid finish for Checa in race 1 after leading for much of the event and yet another crash in the tricky second race conditions before it was red flagged. As a result of the stoppage, Checa was awarded a 6th place finish.
A very difficult day’s racing for team Althea and riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano with heavy rain showers that conditioned both of today’s SBK races at the Silverstone track. Despite the less than ideal circumstances, current champion Checa was able to score some good results, crossing the line in fifth and sixth place, while Davide secured points in race one thanks to a ninth place finish.
Race 1- Althea Racing had to battle against the elements again today with a first race that was declared dry, before being red-flagged and restarted as a ‘wet’ race that became increasingly difficult over the course of the 18-laps. Carlos made a good start to the restarted race and was sixth at the end of lap one while Davide was ninth through the first corners, slipping however to seventeenth by the end of the first lap.
During the next few laps both riders were able to recover; Carlos passed a group of riders, including Biaggi and Sykes, and took the lead by lap five and Davide was up to twelfth by lap eight, having been the fastest rider on track in the early laps. Carlos built up a three second gap between himself and the chasing group, made up of Sykes, Camier and Haslam but on lap eight it began to rain and he was forced to reduce his speed.
He lost several positions as a result but, evaluating the conditions, he decided it was preferable to finish the race rather than risk a crash. The current world champion thus crossed the line in fifth position, behind a group of four riders who battled it out right to the line, with two of them – Badovini and Rea – crashing just a fraction of a second after passing the chequered flag. Davide, despite suffering from pain in his right hand as a result of a crash on Friday and dealing with a small technical problem with his boot, fought long and hard against Laverty before making up a few places in the final stages to cross the line in final ninth position.
Race 2 – the second race started exactly as the first had done, with the start delayed due to instable conditions. The race was then declared wet, as a result of the damp track. This time all riders opted for rain tyres and this proved to be the right decision, as heavy rainfall arrived as soon as the race got underway.
Carlos lost ground in the opening stages and was in fourteenth place at the end of the first lap while Davide lay in ninth. Both found a good rhythm and while Carlos moved up through the field to reach sixth position, Davide, now fourth, was pushing to close the gap between himself and Baz, third.
Reaching a very slippery section of the track, that was perhaps oil-coated, Davide unfortunately crashed out on lap six, with team-mate Carlos suffering the same fate just two laps later. The race was stopped during the course of the ninth lap, and half points were awarded according to riders’ positions at the end of lap eight, meaning that Carlos scored five points for his sixth place finish.
At the end of Round ten of the championship Carlos is now in fourth position in the standings with a total of 220.5 points. Davide is now tenth with 106 points. Ducati lies in third position in the manufacturer’s standings with 300 points behind Aprilia (302) and BMW (316).
Carlos Checa: “The conditions today, especially in race 1, were dangerous; racing in the wet with slick tyres is obviously no fun for anyway, although it probably makes for exciting races for the spectators. Before the rain started to fall I was going really well but then once the rain came, and certain sections of the track became wetter than others, I lost a bit of confidence and slowed down a bit, thinking that maybe one or two guys would come past me but instead there were five or six of them! In the final stages, when I saw how the front group was pushing and how hard it was just to stay upright, I chose to stay put and follow them rather than push and take risks. Fifth isn’t bad considering the conditions. In race 2 I lost some ground at the start but then managed to make that up again over the subsequent laps to arrive close to Berger who was in fifth. I saw some oil on the track and went wide to avoid it – I put my hand up at that point to indicate to Race Direction that conditions were getting worse but then I fell. Anyway, we’ve made up a few points in the standings and now we have to concentrate on the Russian round.”
Davide Giugliano: “In race 1, I decided to take it easy for the first couple of laps to see what conditions were really like and then I started to push and felt quite comfortable. Unfortunately once I got up near to Badovini I had a problem with my boot and I couldn’t change gear easily. In the second race I had a strong pace and was feeling quite happy in the now full wet conditions. I was there in fourth and felt I was in a position to push and try to catch Baz for third but at a certain point I unexpectedly crashed – I don’t know it if was just me pushing too hard or if there was oil on the track but anyway there was nothing I could do. It’s a pity because I know I had the pace in that race and could have taken a good result.”
RESULTS: Race 1 – 1. Baz (Kawasaki); 2. Fabrizio (BMW); 3. Badovini (BMW). Race 2 – 1. Guintoli (Ducati); 2. Baz (Kawasaki); 3. Smrz (Ducati)
CLASSIFICATION: Riders – 1. Biaggi (Aprilia) 274; 2. Melandri (BMW) 263.5; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 222.5; 4. Checa (Ducati) 220.5; Rea (Honda) 203.5; 6. Haslam (BMW) 170; 7. Laverty (Aprilia) 160.5; 8. Guintoli (Ducati) 122.5; 9. Fabrizio (BMW) 108.5; 10. Giugliano (Ducati) 106. Manufacturers – BMW 316; Aprilia 302.5; Ducati 300; Kawasaki 253.5; Honda 209.5; Suzuki 75.5
Source: Edited Althea Racing Releasing
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FG_AUTHORS: Mark Morrison