Checa Grabs Superpole with Record Breaking Lap

checa_phillip_island_superpoleFor the last week, Carlos Checa has been absolutely dominant at Phillip Island. Checa was at the top of the timesheets during the final pre-season World Superbike test, he led the free practice session and claimed the provisional pole yesterday. Today Checa set a record breaking lap to claim the first superpole trophy of the season.

Carlos Checa set a 1’30.882 lap time around the Phillip Island track. But despite Checa’s record setting time, Max Biaggi was still ale to finish within .013 seconds.

Biaggi has been setting respectable, but not impressive, lap times so far at Phillip Island. But today the returning World Superbike Champion threw down the gauntlet, and there is sure tobe a showdown between Biaggi and Checa tomorrow.

A second Ducati claimed the third place position, as Sylvain Guintoli gave the Effenbert / Liberty Racing team an impressive World Superbike debut.

Leon Haslam, took fourth aboard his BMW, and Eugene Laverty finished in fifth place about his Yamaha.

The World Superbike riders will face off for the first time tomorrow as the 2011 World Superbike season gets underway. Last year at Phillip Island, Haslam and Checa were able to take home victories.

Will 2011 see two riders taking home victories? Or will Checa be able to start the season off with a double?

2011 World Superbike – Superpole

  1. Carlos Checa – (Althea Racing) – 1’30.882
  2. Max Biaggi -(Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) – 1’30.895
  3. Sylvain Guintoli – (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing) – 1’31.293
  4. Leon Haslam – (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) – 1’31.429
  5. Eugene Laverty – (Yamaha World Superbike Team) – 1’31.858
  6. Jakub Smrz – (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing) – 1’31.980
  7. Troy Corser – (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) – 1’32.182
  8. Marco Melandri – (Yamaha World Superbike Team) – 1’32.662
  9. Michel Fabrizio – (Team Suzuki Alstare) – 1’32.153

Courtesy of

Ducati Announces the 2011 848 EVO Club Racing Program

Ducati_848_EvoDucati announces today the launch of the 2011 848EVO Club Racing Contingency Program; a package to support riders campaigning Ducati’s new middleweight Superbike in regional race competition.

Ducati continues to push the envelopes of racing performance and technology. The new 848EVO is a direct result of these ambitions combined with years of development while racing the 848 Superbike. In 2011, Ducati riders from around the nation will be competing for one of the best contingency programs available.

The 848EVO Club Racing Contingency Program is open to any rider competing on a Ducati 848EVO Superbike purchased from an authorized US Ducati dealer. Payouts will be made in Ducati credit vouchers for the amounts of $700, $300 and $150; representing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes.

The regional series supported by the program are CCS, CMRA, WSMC, MRA, OMMRA, WMRRA, and AFM. There will be 109 races eligible for payout under the program, a minimum of three race weekends per series, and two-to-three classes paying out per race meeting. The 2011 program is Ducati’s best in years, and underlines the brand’s confidence in the capabilities of the new 848EVO.

Ducati is also pleased to announce the nine competing riders it has careful selected as part of the 848EVO Club Racing Program. Jim Chaconas, Howard Crow, Jose Flores, Doug Hillius, Ryan Jones, Barrett Long, Brent Lyskawa, Stefano Mesa and Joel Spalding will be representing the iconic brand on their new 848EVO race bikes throughout the full 2011 season.

For full details about the 2011 848EVO Club Racing Contingency program- including all dates, forms and eligible classes- please visit

[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Ducati]

Here We Go Again: Motorcycle-Only Checkpoints

CheckpointsBack in October, I reported on motorcycle-only checkpoints that were not only common practice in some states, but were funded by a federal grant program. Our readers were quite vocal in their dismay at such a practice. Well, here we go again.

The Georgia State Patrol plans on conducting motorcycle-only traffic checkpoints. The concern is that these checkpoints will subject thousands of motorcyclists to required inspections if they are set up before, during, and after Daytona Bike Week. Obviously, as a neighboring state to Florida, Georgia would be a travel route for thousands of riders heading south to Daytona.

Fairness and legal questions abound. Where is the proof that motorcycle-only checkpoints increase the safety of motorcyclists? Do states have the authority to conduct motorcycle-only checkpoints? Is “probable cause” required to stop a motorcycle and, if so, what constitutes probable cause? Despite these concerns, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given Georgia a $70,000 grant to conduct roadside motorcycle-only checkpoints. New York State has operated a similar program.

The American Motorcyclist Association is calling on motorcyclists nationwide to protest the practice. Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government affairs states, “The AMA believes that the primary source of motorcycle safety is in motorcycle crash prevention and not in arbitrarily pulling over riders and randomly subjecting them to roadside inspections.” He continues, “No public money should be applied to promoting such a program without first addressing questions from the motorcycling community.”

So again we ask – is this kind of singling out of motorcyclists fair? Give us your thoughts.

Courtesy of

Tips from the Master Kevin Schwantz

KSWe ran across a list of track tips attributed to Kevin Schwantz to make your first track day better. We trimmed down the list and will be looking at a few of the items in detail. We are focusing on tips for setting up for a turn and getting through the turn. The list of tips from Kevin Schwantz:

  1. Go slow when learning a new track. Get the flow first. – During your first session if the track is new to you, take it easy on your first two laps. See if you can get a map of the track to help familiarize yourself with the track before you ever put your motorcycle on the track.
  2. Find and use reference points for braking, turn-in and apex. – Look for the objects around the track that do not move that you can use for your reference points. Many tracks will have signs up before the turns indicating feet before the turn that you can use for braking reference points.
  3. Get body position set for corners early. – Do not wait till you are already leaning the motorcycle over into the turn and then decide at the last second to get your body off the bike. Get your butt off the seat as you start your braking.
  4. Get hard braking done early; don’t wait till you see God! – Starting breaking at the first brake marker you selected earlier and marked down on the track map after your first session. As you pick up the pace and start getting faster you can start braking a little later. Just be sure that the hard breaking is done as you hit your breaking reference point, not your turn in point.
  5. Hang off slightly–and comfortably–in corners. – Hanging off your motorcycle is unique to each rider. Hang off at your comfort level, your knee does not have to touch the track on your first outing. Progress slowly and see what works for you. Start by getting half your butt off the seat.
  6. Ease off the brakes smoothly as you lean the bike into a corner. – You should be done braking by the time you hit your turn in point. As you approach your turn in point you should be letting off the brake lever slowly. So when it is time to turn your braking has been completed and you can focus on the turn.
  7. Get to neutral throttle ASAP approaching the apex. – Get the throttle turned to the point where you are at a constant speed and can complete the turn. Keep the throttle to that point and leave it there.
  8. Apply smooth but forceful throttle exiting a corner. – When you are exiting the turn you can start to twist the throttle to add more speed. On you first few laps wait till the bike is fully upright then slowly add more throttle. Do not open the throttle so fast that you start pulling the front wheel off the ground.

We located video that has two riders on a track. The video was taken at Jennings GP located in Jennings Florida. We have provided time codes for turn 1 on this track. This turn is a very unique double apex turn. The braking markers can be seen on the right side of the track as the rider approaches the turn. There are also turn in markers indicated next to the track with an arrow to turn. On the video next to the track you will also see round orange dots that can be used as reference points.

  • 1:34 to 1:47
  • 2:57 to 3:10
  • 4:15 to 4:29
  • 5:36 to 5:46
  • 7:00 to 7:10

We consulted Greg Melka CCS Racing #2, the rider with the camera in the video, to get more insight on turn 1 at Jennings GP. Greg suggested that you need to start setting up for the turn on the front straight by heading to the right side of the track. Use the brake markers on the right of the track to set where you will start braking.

Start looking into the turn, look for the first orange dot. You should be off the brakes when you are starting to make the turn. Roll off the throttle and get it to the point so you motorcycle settles in. When you can see the 2nd orange dot in the turn start to drift out to the center of the track and hold it there. Look for the next orange dot on the right side of the track. By the time the motorcycle is at the orange dot you should have the bike stood up and you can roll on the throttle.

Courtesy of

Ducati Testing Team Confident for Qatar Test

valentino_rossi_working_on_bike_at_SepangAfter the three-day MotoGP testing session in Sepang, Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden were less than optimistic about their results. Rossi said that he was “unhappy,” and that he was “worried” about the 2011 season. But while Hayden and Rossi were working in Sepang, the Ducati Marlboro testing team was working hard in Jerez.

Luckily for Rossi and Hayden, the testing team was confident about their progress. Working with Ducati’s official team test rider, Franco Battaini, the testing team was able to make further progress on the GP11 in order to prepare for the start of the 2011 MotoGP season.

Filippo Prezioso and the development team were in constant concat with the Ducati team in Sepang, and were able to work on a few of the problems pointed out by Hayden and Rossi.

“Today was the final session of this three-day test in Jerez with the development team,” said Prezioso. “We worked through an intense schedule with Franco (Battaini), completing a series of software tests in close conjunction with the official team in Sepang.

“Based on the feed-back from Valentino and Nicky, we carried the work forward on a parallel course which will allow us to provide concrete solutions for the next test in Qatar. We have also continued to work on the chassis set-up, gathering data which we will return to the factory with on Monday for comparison with that of Sepang.”

Prezioso acknowledge that the Sepang test didn’t go as planned, but was confident that the Ducati machine would be back on track for the Qatar test, and would be ready to fire off the line at the start of the MotoGP season.

“In Malaysia we have not finished in a position inline with our original target but this was also due to some back luck,” Prezioso said. “After a promising start to the test, Valentino became ill and lost a full day on the track, forcing him to cram all of the remaining work into the last day. Valentino, Nicky and all the guys at the track were working flat out, and we are doing the same back in the factory.

“We are confident that by going forward with this same level of commitment, and staying focused on our objectives we will realize the potential that we know we have.”

Courtesy of