/ Motorsport

Checa and Biaggi celebrate in Australia

Updated: Sunday, 26 Feb 2012 16:27

Eugene Laverty (right) of Ireland and Aprilia Racing Team leads Marco Melandri (left) of Italy and BMW Motorrad Motorsport during race one in Phillip Island
Eugene Laverty (right) of Ireland and Aprilia Racing Team leads Marco Melandri (left) of Italy and BMW Motorrad Motorsport during race one in Phillip Island

Reigning World Superbikes champion Carlos Checa bounced back from a crash in the opening race of the new season to win today's second race at Phillip Island.

But Max Biaggi is the early leader in the standings after a win and a second place in the day's double-header.

Biaggi won the first race by an impressive seven seconds from compatriot Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad), who edged out Effenbert Liberty's Sylvain Guintoli for second.

Britain's Tom Sykes was fourth for Kawasaki, having started on pole after yesterday's Superpole session was cancelled due to the death of 17-year-old Superstock 600 rider Oscar McIntyre in the preceding support race.

Jakub Smrz was fifth while reigning series champion Checa crashed out spectacularly while leading the race early on.

Biaggi, having started race two from second, ran off course on the first lap after swerving to avoid Sykes and found himself last, but worked his way back through the field to his original grid position.

He was a clear distance behind Checa, though, the Spaniard with time to wheelie through the final bend.

Sykes pipped fellow Briton Jonathan Rea to third place almost on the line to lie third in the fledgling series standings on 29 points, four ahead of Checa and just one behind Melandri. Biaggi leads on 45.

Irishman Eugene Laverty, riding for Aprilia Racing Team, was running ninth in race one; however, a false neutral sent him off the circuit with three laps to go. But he secured eighth place in the second race. The Toomebridge man lies 13th in the championship standings.

<notforsyndication>Eugene Laverty hits the gravel in Phillip Island in race one</notforsyndication>

Biaggi told British Eurosport: "I'm very, very happy.

"I did so much hard work to get into the top five (in the second race), I gave everything I had."

Checa added: "I'm really satisfied after the crash in race one. To leave this track with a crash was not the best feeling but after winning I'm feeling very, very well."

Sykes said of his dramatic late tussle with Rea: "On the second-to-last lap I had a little bit of a run at him but he closed all the doors. He rode a good tactical last lap but fortunately I found a little bit more grip than him on the last corner.

"It's a very strong weekend, very promising."