The sixth round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship in Misano, Italy, ended for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport with both riders failing to finish the first race and a fifth place for Leon Haslam in race two. BMW Motorrad Italia’s Ayrton Badovini, however, secured his best WSBK result to date.
The weekend started poorly for BMW Motorrad Motorsport. Works rider Troy Corser crashed heavily in the qualifying practice session on Friday and suffered bruising to his thigh, back and elbow. While he was cleared to ride the following day, he crashed again in Saturday morning’s second qualifying practice, landing hard again on the bruised thigh.
BMW’s other Works rider, Leon Haslam worked through the qualifying sessions on his chassis and electronics settings. He was consistently in the top 10 and hoped to work his way to the front in Superpole. Heavy thunderstorms moved in as Superpole began which meant no wet practice and resulting in five teams crashing in the first session – including the fastest man all weekend Carlos Checa. Troy and Leon however rode it out and ended the first session in seventh and 11th places respectively, and making it through to Superpole 2.
The rain continued through Superpole 2 with Troy visibly in pain from his crashes earlier in the weekend. Haslam topped the time sheets with Troy slipping into second. With every second that passed the top 12 riders continuously changed positions, and the frantic session eventually finished with Troy in seventh and Haslam in eighth, both just bumping the unfortunate BMW Motorrad Italia rider Aryton Badovivni out of the top 8, into ninth place and out of the running for Superpole 3.
In the final eight-minute session that would determine the front two rows of the grid, Haslam was one of the first riders to take to the track, with Troy soon following, and both Works riders looking for a front row start. Haslam was first to top the time sheets and was ‘glued’ to the back wheel of current championship leader Checa for the majority of the session before slipping off the RR at turn 4 on his last flying lap. Troy left his best lap for the dying seconds and managed to jump from 8th to 6th on the grid, so he lined up alongside Leon who eventually finished 5th.
The races at Misano were full of drama, with crashes, retirements, recoveries and nearly a rostrum for BMW Motorrad Italia’s Ayrton Badovini, who secured his best WSBK result to date. Troy Corser’s injuries prevented him from scoring any points in Italy, while Leon Haslam high-sided out of race one but fought bravely to finish fifth in race two.
Race one started with extreme promise from Leon Haslam who made a fantastic start into second place and proceeded to take the early race lead. Max Biaggi squeezed past Leon on lap two, with eventual race winner Carlos Checa edging past soon after. A mistake on lap six by Haslam forced him to run wide and Marco Melandri quickly took advantage, but then just three laps later, a big high-side coming out of a third-gear corner caused Leon to crash out of contention. Fortunately he wasn’t injured badly and was able to start race two.
This was not the case for a bruised and battered Troy Corser, who bravely started the first race despite carrying injuries from two earlier crashes this weekend. However, with another WSBK round in just a few days in Spain, Troy decided that rest and recovery was a better option than risking further injury, so he decided to sit out race two.
There was yet more positive news for Ayrton Badovini of the BMW Motorrad Italia Team, who continued his successful transition to World Superbikes by working his way from the third row of the grid to an eighth-place race one finish after a long battle with Michel Fabrizio. The BMW Motorrad Italia rider was only six seconds behind podium finisher Marco Melandri. Lorenzo Lanzi, substituting for the injured James Toseland, earned a championship point by finishing in 15th place.
Race two saw an identical start by Haslam, who shot up into second behind pole-setter Tom Sykes. Leon took the lead just a few corners later, with race one winner Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi in hot pursuit. Checa took the lead on lap 3, with Biaggi then pushing Haslam wide on the same lap. With Checa riding at near lap-record pace, and Biaggi actually breaking the lap record on lap 7, a bruised Haslam was visibly struggling to stay with the leaders. Melandri edged past as Haslam ran wide on lap 8, but then the Italian lost the front end of his Yamaha at the end of the start-finish straight on lap 11, and soon after, the race was red flagged.
The subsequent restart saw Haslam third on the grid for the 14-lap sprint and the young Brit tucked into second place behind Biaggi, with the ever-present Checa moving past Haslam on lap 2. Visibly pushing hard, Leon outbraked himself and allowed Eugene Laverty past and was then forced to fend off challenges from fellow RR rider Ayrton Badovini, who had made a fantastic start into fifth place.
A crash by Laverty on lap 6 left Haslam, Haga, Badovini and Fabrizio battling for the final podium place. Haga put a strong pass on Leon on lap 8, and with four laps to go, the chasing Brit ran wide on the curb, allowing fellow RR rider Badovini past in pursuit of his career first World Superbike podium. The Italian took over half a second out of Haga on the penultimate lap and pushed Haga all the way on the final lap, managing to get past the hard-charging Japanese rider for a few corners, but then losing the drag to the finish line by less than a tenth of a second. This is, however, Badovini’s best WSBK result to date. Carlos Checa took victory for the second time today, while Leon Haslam bravely finished in fifth place.
Race One Results
1. Checa (ESP – Ducati)
2. Biaggi (ITA – Aprilia)
3. Melandri (ITA – Yamaha)
8. Ayrton Badovini (ITA – BMW Motorrad Italia)
15. Lorenzo Lanzi (ITA – BMW Motorrad Italia)
DNF. Leon Haslam (GBR – BMW Motorrad Motorsport)
DNF. Troy Corser (AUS – BMW Motorrad Motorsport)
Race Two Results
1. Checa (ESP – Ducati)
2. Biaggi (ITA – Aprilia)
3. Haga (JPN – Aprilia)
4. Ayrton Badovini (ITA – BMW Motorrad Italia)
5. Leon Haslam (GBR – BMW Motorrad Motorsport)
11. Lorenzo Lanzi (ITA – BMW Motorrad Italia)
DNS. Troy Corser (AUS – BMW Motorrad Motorsport)
2011 World Superbike Championship rider standings
1. Checa – 245
2. Biaggi – 17
3. Melandri – 150
5. Haslam – 106
11. Badovini – 72
15. Corser – 49