Checa cruises to comfortable race 2 win


Carlos Checa took his third win of the season with a comfortable victory in race two at Donington Park.

The Spaniard, starting from pole position, was third as the field exited the first corner but quickly stamped his authority on proceedings and had none of the mistakes that blighted his opening race performance.

BMW’s Leon Haslam once more made the best start in the field. The Englishman however, was powerless to stop Checa taking the lead on lap three with a superb overtaking manoeuvre at the Old Hairpin. Once in front Checa set about opening an early lead that would allow him to cruise to the finish line ahead.

Marco Melandri, winner of the opening race, started in ninth position but within a couple of laps had moved into fifth having dispensed with Jonathon Rea at the Old Hairpin. Melandri then started to chase down the riders in front of him, moving past Nori Haga midway through lap four at the Eases. Haga had a promising opening race of the day but his race two effort would effectively be ended within another mile.

At the final corner, Goddards, the Japanese star ran out of road on the way into the corner and crashed. He remounted but failed to make any impression on the points scorers.

With Checa moving clear at the front it was clear that Haslam was holding up Leon Camier and Melandri. In the opening race Camier thought it better to let Haslam try and close the gap to early leader Smrz but in race two he had no such thoughts. On the fifth lap he made his move at McLeans with a daring move. The Aprilia was clearly faster than the BMW but their battle held them up slightly and coming into the Esses Melandri moved past both of them into second.

The trio traded places in the next half lap but by the time they got to the start finish straight Melandri moved into second and set about closing down Checa with Camier in hot pursuit. Camier struggled in race one, nursing a poor rear tyre, but was able to keep close to Melandri as the pair tried to close down the 2s gap to Checa.

On lap eight reigning champion Max Biaggi moved past Jakub Smrz but his race was almost over. The Italian jumped the lights at the start and having been given a ride through penalty on the third lap he was disqualified for failing to take his penalty. There were shades of Catalunya 98 when Max finally made his way to the garage to end his race.

The race settled down from this point onwards with Checa trying to open a lead to his pursuers and the gap growing to three seconds. The battle behind the leaders was spiced up by a mistake by Haslam that saw the BMW rider run wide at Coppice and drop to eighth position. Haslam would have his work cut out for him for the rest of the race but ultimately he managed to get back to fourth by passing the impressive rookie Joan Lascorz with three laps to go.

With five laps to go Camier started to apply pressure to Melandri at the front and briefly reclaimed second. The wily Italian was able to get back through at the Old Hairpin due to a slight mistake by Camier through the Craner Curves. Camier ran slightly wide through the downhill section and it pushed him wide heading into the Old Hairpin. Melandri meanwhile was inch perfect and moved back into second with the minimum of fuss.

There was however nothing that anyone could do about Checa. The Spaniard was consistently the most impressive rider over the course of the weekend and his victory in race two was thoroughly deserved. With Biaggi failing to score in race two, and only scoring nine points in race one, this was a very profitable race for Checa. There will be races, Monza and other power circuits, that Checa will be found wanting but he has made the perfect start to the season with four podiums.

For full results from race two click here

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