Sepang (Malaysia), Monday 9 June 2014 – Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) claimed a double victory for Aprilia overnight, winning round six of the world superbike championship in the category’s debut at the Sepang International circuit in Malyasia.
Both races proved a titanic battle to the flag between Melandri and his teammate Sylvain Guintoli. The two Aprilia riders raced tooth and nail to the finish, with Italian Melandri pipping Guintoli on both occasions. Today’s victories were Melandri’s first for Aprilia, since joining the team this season.
It was the second double of Melandri’s career after the one he scored in Brno two years ago, aboard the factory BMW machinery he was riding at the time.
Australia’s Bryan Staring made his race debut for Kawasaki Grillini, taking an encouraging 13th and 16th on the EVO bike.
“We really needed this double! We never gave up despite the difficulties we went through, we kept working hard and fighting. I found a good feeling here astride my RSV4. Conditions were difficult in race one, but I managed to close the gap to Sylvain anyway. After overtaking him I was able to pull away just enough to win. Race two was even harder, as I had to make my way through the Kawasaki’s and then try and catch my teammate. During the last lap I tried everything I could to the finish line. A lot of respect should be paid to all riders for today’s races, because it was really tough to ride in these conditions. I would like to dedicate this double to my girlfriend Manu who is due to give birth soon and to the team.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) made amends in race two after being taken out in race one to take the final spot on the podium, despite a painful wrist. The Brit still leads the standings after the sixth round whilst Guintoli now lies second in the title race, only 13 points behind the reigning champion.
“We got a podium and we are still leading the championship, which is very important. We made a change to the machine after Superpole and in warm-up I was very happy. I had a bit of a limitation in race two which created a little bit of instability with the bike because I was not able to use my right hand to its full potential. It was difficult to see the two guys up front get away, because if I was riding fit then I think we could have tried to give them something to think about. My crew chief had a good chat with me before race two, and he said we needed to try and do the best we could.”
Race two was initially red flagged after the MV Agusta of Claudio Corti expired resulting in a small fire that needed to be extinguished by the track side marshals.
With only three full laps completed the grid for the restart was determined by the positions at the end of the third revolution, meaning Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) was on pole ahead of Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) and Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team). The restart, over 10 laps of the Sepang International Circuit did not disappoint, with the leading five riders locked together until the two factory Aprilia riders eased clear.
Marco Melandri had to take avoiding action as he misjudged his braking point on the second lap, narrowly missing the back of his team mate Guintoli and Toni Elias. Thankfully everyone stayed aboard treating the fans to one of the closest race finishes of the year. Melandri and Guintoli exchanged places several times on the final lap with the Italian getting the better of his team mate once again to take a double win on the championship’s first visit to Sepang.
Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) edged Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) for fourth, with Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) finishing in sixth place.
Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia) was the best classified EVO rider, racing to 12th at the end of the race ahead of David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team).
Australia’s Bryan Staring, in his race debut for Grillini Kawasaki took 16th in the second battle, to add to his 13th earlier in the day – a good start for the EVO class rider.
Alessandro Andreozzi (Pedercini Kawasaki), and his team mate Romain Lanusse both crashed out, thankfully without injury.
Race two Results: 1. Melandri (Aprilia) 10 Laps/55.480 km in 21’00.424 average 158.461 kph; 2. Guintoli (Aprilia) 0.166; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 2.689; 4. Elias (Aprilia) 5.386; 5. Baz (Kawasaki) 5.514; 6. Rea (Honda) 7.073; 7. Laverty (Suzuki) 7.476; 8. Davies (Ducati) 11.057; 9. Lowes (Suzuki) 15.866; 10. Giugliano (Ducati) 16.206; 11. Haslam (Honda) 16.488; 12. Camier (BMW) 23.820; 13. Salom (Kawasaki) 30.653; 14. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 31.266; 15. Canepa (Ducati) 43.009; 16. Staring (Kawasaki) 46.127; 17. Morais (Kawasaki) 58.167; 18. Toth (BMW) 1’00.017; 19. Sebestyen (BMW) 1’03.574; 20. Yates (EBR) 1’13.522; RT. Lanusse (Kawasaki); RT. Andreozzi (Kawasaki); RT. Foret (Kawasaki); SH. Badovini (Bimota) 29.094; SH. Iddon (Bimota) 36.354.
Standings (Round 6 of 13): 1. Sykes 201; 2. Guintoli 188; 3. Rea 179; 4. Baz 170; 5. Melandri 147; 6. Davies 130; 7. Giugliano 96; 8. Laverty 90; 9. Elias 89; 10. Haslam 89; 11. Lowes 80; 12. Salom 56; 13. Canepa 39; 14. Camier 30; 15. Guarnoni 19; 16. Scassa 16; 17. Foret 14; 18. Corti 10; 19. Morais 10; 20. Andreozzi 8; 21. Allerton 6; 22. Bos 5; 23. Staring 3; 24. Toth 2; 25. Fabrizio 2; 26. Lanusse 1. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 216; 2. Aprilia 212; 3. Honda 179; 4. Ducati 158; 5. Suzuki 140; 6. BMW 36; 7. MV Agusta 10.
Race One: Melandri takes maiden victory on the RSV4 in Race 1
Sepang (Malaysia), Sunday 8 June 2014 – The first ever race at Sepang for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship was a thriller, with Aprilia Racing Team’s Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli locked in a titanic battle for victory until the flag. The race was incident packed from the start as Loris Baz tangled with his Kawasaki racing team mate Tom Sykes, both riders falling and taking with them Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki).
With the incident creating a gap at the front of the race, Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri exchanged places at the front with Melandri eventually coming out as the victor and claiming his first win as a factory Aprilia rider. Guintoli was second.
Behind the leading two, a three way fight raged with Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) claiming the final podium spot ahead of Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) and Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) who were 4th and 5th respectively.
Sixth at the end of the first 16 lap encounter of the day went to Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) who recovered from a bad start to get the better of his team mate Leon Haslam.
David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) claimed the EVO honours with a spirited ride to 9th overall ahead of Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia) who was 10th. Bryan Staring (Iron Brain Grillini Kawasaki) scored points with 13th on his first Superbike start of the year.
Race One Results: 1. Melandri (Aprilia) 16 Laps/88.768 km in 33’42.359 average 158.016 kph; 2. Guintoli (Aprilia) 0.620; 3. Laverty (Suzuki) 12.865; 4. Davies (Ducati) 15.437; 5. Elias (Aprilia) 15.723; 6. Rea (Honda) 31.304; 7. Haslam (Honda) 34.093; 8. Giugliano (Ducati) 35.804; 9. Salom (Kawasaki) 42.031; 10. Camier (BMW) 49.465; 11. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 53.715; 12. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1’07.783; 13. Staring (Kawasaki) 1’10.746; 14. Toth (BMW) 1’18.143; 15. Lanusse (Kawasaki) 1’21.026; 16. Yates (EBR) 1’49.054; RT. Canepa (Ducati); RT. Morais (Kawasaki); RT. Sebestyen (BMW); RT. Corti (MV Agusta); RT. Foret (Kawasaki); RT. Lowes (Suzuki); RT. Baz (Kawasaki); RT. Sykes (Kawasaki); SH. Badovini (Bimota) 55.683; SH. Iddon (Bimota).
After 14 exciting laps, Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) has taken victory in the first ever World Supersport race in Sepang and with it extended his lead in the championship after an enthralling battle in the hottest Supersport race of the year, both on and off the track.
After taking the lead at turn one former champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Team India Kawasaki) was put under intense pressure from Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta RC – Yakhnich Motorsport), Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team), Robert Rolfo (Go Eleven Kawasaki) and Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team), with the top 5 riders easing slowly away from the chasing pack.
As the race progressed Sofuoglu dropped slowly back as did Rolfo and Zanetti leaving championship leader Van der Mark and Jules Cluzel to fight to the flag with the the Dutchman getting the better of the Frenchman in the final turn.
Kenan Sofuoglu took the final podium place in 3rd after getting the better of Roberto Rolfo, with Lorenzo Zanetti and Ratthapark Wilairot (Core PTR Honda) completing the top six.
Wildcard rider Zaqhwan Zaidi (SIC Racing Team) rode superbly to claim a well deserved 9th in front of a very enthusiastic local crowd.
Both DMC-Panavto riders, Alexey Ivanov and Kev Coghlan crashed out early on as did Fraser Rogers (SMS Complus Honda), Fabio Menghi (VFT Racing Yamaha) before Jack Kennedy (CIA Insurance Honda) took out Roberto Tamburini (San Carlo Puccetti Kawasaki), with Florian Marino (Intermoto Kawasaki Ponyexpres) falling at the same corner seconds later. All riders were uninjured.
Results: 1. Vd Mark (Honda) 14 Laps/77.672 km in 30’23.854 average 153.312 kph; 2. Cluzel (MV Agusta) 0.018; 3. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 4.526; 4. Rolfo (Kawasaki) 4.651; 5. Zanetti (Honda) 9.187; 6. Wilairot (Honda) 12.494; 7. De Rosa (Honda) 13.515; 8. Jacobsen (Kawasaki) 20.400; 9. Zaidi (Honda) 20.579; 10. Bussolotti (Honda) 29.038; 11. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 33.204; 12. Russo (Honda) 39.729; 13. Nocco (Kawasaki) 48.739; 14. Leonov (MV Agusta) 50.260; 15. Coveña (Kawasaki) 1’02.471; etc.
Standings (Round 6 of 12): 1. Vd Mark 115; 2. Cluzel 82; 3. Marino 76; 4. Zanetti 60; 5. Coghlan 60; 6. Sofuoglu 54; 7. De Rosa 54; 8. Rolfo 49; 9. Jacobsen 40; 10. Tamburini 37; 11. Bussolotti 27; 12. Russo 25; 13. Wahr 23; 14. Wilairot 23; 15. Gamarino 21; 16. Menghi 19; 17. Kennedy 19; 18. Leonov 15; 19. Nocco 11; 20. Gowland 9; 21. Zaidi 7; 22. Coveña 7; 23. Schmitter 3; 24. Calero 3; 25. Rogers 1. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 136; 2. Kawasaki 103; 3. MV Agusta 90; 4. Yamaha 70; 5. Triumph 9.
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