Max Biaggi (Aprilia) and Marco Melandri (BMW) scored a win apiece in two classic races at the eighth round of the World Superbike series. Biaggi now has 20 career wins to his credit, Melandri seven.
There was drama aplenty in warm conditions, but raceday temperatures had cooled from the fiery intensity of the first two days, a factor that played a part for some riders in their final fortunes. Strong winds also affected the riders on Sunday.
Biaggi secured a tight win by only 0.278 seconds from his great rival Melandri. This was Biaggi's fourth win of 2012, and his third in a row. The top two were well clear of the battle for third, which eventually went to Carlos Checa (Ducati) from Davies, even though he took it in bizarre circumstances after Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) was deprived of what looked like a sure podium place when Ayrton Badovini (BMW) lost the front wheel and hit Sykes' rear wheel, and both riders fell.
Max Biaggi: “Tyres are always a problem here and it's very difficult to keep the pace, but we were working good all weekend to be comfortable with the tyres moving around. There were only two riders in front, we tried to overtake each other and understand where and what was possible to do at the end. The result could have easily been the other way around.”
Marco Melandri: “I was struggling to pass Laverty and Sykes and then I had to push a lot to catch Max who was leading. When I was there I tried to take him but it was not easy. In the end he passed me quite easy because he was faster than me.”
Carlos Checa: “We always fight until the end, you never know! Today for sure we were lucky because we were not in the best position so to be here was quite a surprise. Hopefully Badovini and Sykes are OK after their crash, but I'm quite satisfied for the final result. It's my home race and it was difficult to be in front fighting for the win today.”
Melandri secured his third win of the season after a spectacularly tight fight against three other riders. Second was Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) who lost out by only 0.042 seconds. Immediately behind, Davies held off the attention of Biaggi to take his first podium in the championship, as the top four were only 0.484 seconds apart after 20 laps.
Behind the leading quartet Jonathan Rea (Honda) came home fifth after recovering from another bad start, with Leon Haslam (BMW), Checa and Sykes in basically the same group for most of the race.
Marco Melandri: “After Race 1 I was a little disappointed so I tried to get a win in race 2, it was not easy because the wind was very strong. Eugene started to lead the race and was very fast, suddenly with three laps to go Max passed me and when I passed him back I went wide then Chaz passed me. We were running so wide and so fast and I had no plan for the last lap!”
Eugene Laverty: “It was close with Marco on the last lap, he got the better of me. Still it's nice to be back on the podium after Assen and Monza where we were top three, and where I think we have belonged in the past three rounds but where we had small electronic problems that held us back.”
Chaz Davies: “I didn't get off to the greatest start and the first couple of laps weren't good either but I put my head down and got to fourth. I tried to keep chipping away and eventually caught the top three.
After an accident delayed the eventual running of the full 18-lap Supersport race, Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) crossed the line first but was demoted four places in the final results because of a coming together between him and eventual second place rider Fabien Foret (Kawasaki).
That gave the win to Sam Lowes (Honda) after Sofuoglu was penalised for not dropping the regulation three places during the race. It was Lowes' second win of the year and it put him second overall in the championship, after pole man Jules Cluzel (Honda) had crashed out early on.
South African Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) scored his first podium in this class in third, with Broc Parkes (Honda) fourth and Sofuoglu fifth.
Another South African, Ronan Quarmby (Honda) was sixth.
Bryan Staring (Kawasaki) took his first win in the Superstock class, front-running to take a final advantage of eight seconds and set a new lap record of 2min01.446 ibn the process. Runner-up was another Kawasaki rider, Jeremy Guarnoni, who passed long-time second-place runner Lorenzo Baroni (BMW) in the closing stages.
Fourth was Ducati Panigale rider Eddi La Marra; championship leader Sylvain Barrier (BMW) is now only a single point ahead of La Marra after he and Luca Savadori collided early in the race and Barrier eventually retired.
South African David McFadden (Kawasaki) qualified 11th and then improved on his qualifying time by nearly a second in the race to make up three places and finish eighth.
RESULTS - RACE 1
1 Max Biaggi (Italy) Aprilia RSV4 Factory - 39min51.188
2 Marco Melandri (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +7.004 +0.278sec
3 Carlos Checa (Spain) Ducati 1098R +9.462
4 Chaz Davies (Britain) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +10.827
5 Eugene Laverty (Ireland) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +15.708
6 Michel Fabrizio (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +27.597
7 Leon Haslam (Britain) BMW S1000 RR +29.032
8 Davide Giugliano (Italy) Ducati 1098R +39.374
9 Leon Camier (Britain) Suzuki GSX-R1000 +40.887
10 Maxime Berger (France) Ducati 1098R +41.440
11 Niccolo Canepa (Italy) Ducati 1098R +42.056
12 Sylvain Guintoli (France) Ducati 1098R +42.369
13 Lorenzo Zanetti (Italy) Ducati 1098R +42.669
14 Hiroshi Aoyama (Japan) Honda CBR1000RR +48.010
15 John Hopkins (US) Suzuki GSX-R1000 +49.752
16 Jonathan Rea (Britain) Honda CBR1000RR +54.590
17 Norino Brignola (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +1min59.653
1 Marco Melandri (Italy) BMW S1000 RR - 39min59.200
2 Eugene Laverty (Ireland) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +0.042sec
3 Chaz Davies (Britain) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +0.446
4 Max Biaggi (Italy) Aprilia RSV4 Factory +0.484
5 Jonathan Rea (Britain) Honda CBR1000RR +6.611
6 Leon Haslam (Britain) BMW S1000 RR +7.491
7 Carlos Checa (Spain) Ducati 1098R +9.325
8 Tom Sykes (Britain) Kawasaki ZX-10R +10.444
9 Ayrton Badovini (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +10.828
10 Davide Giugliano (Italy) Ducati 1098R +10.926
11 Michel Fabrizio (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +21.955
12 Maxime Berger (France) Ducati 1098R +22.046
13 Sylvain Guintoli (France) Ducati 1098R +22.486
14 Lorenzo Zanetti (Italy) Ducati 1098R +42.801
15 Horoshi Aoyama (Japan) Honda CBR1000RR +49.144
16 David Salom (Spain) Kawasaki ZX-10R +50.961
17 Niccolo Canepa (Italy) Ducati 1098R +1min00.863
18 Leandro Mercado (Argentina) Kawasaki ZX-10R +1min14.149
19 Norino Brignola (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +1min53.388
20 Loris Baz (France) Kawasaki ZX-10R +1 lap
POINTS (after eight of 14 rounds)
1 Max Biaggi (Italy) Aprilia RSV4 Factory - 248.5
2 Marco Melandri (Italy) BMW S1000 RR - 200.5
3 Jonathan Rea (Britain) Honda CBR1000RR - 183
4 Carlos Checa (Spain) Ducati 1098R - 175.5
5 Tom Sykes (Britain) Kawasaki ZX-10R - 172.5
6 Leon Haslam (Britain) BMW S1000 RR - 142
7 Eugene Laverty (Ireland) Aprilia RSV4 Factory - 126
8 Sylvain Guintoli (France) Ducati 1098R - 110
9 Davide Giugliano (Italy) Ducati 1098R - 94
10 Chaz Davies (Britain) Aprilia RSV4 Factory - 78
1 Sam Lowes (Britain) Honda CBR600RR - 37min14.284
2 Fabien Foret (France) Kawasaki ZX-6R +1.446sec
3 Sheridan Morais (South Africa) Kawasaki ZX-6R +4.322
4 Broc Parkes (Australia) Honda CBR600RR +5.924
5 Kenan Sofouglu (Turkey) Kawasaki ZX-6R +6.377
6 Ronan Quarmby (South Africa) Honda CBR600RR +16.333
7 Vittorio Iannuzzo (Italy) Yamaha R6 +19.948
8 Jed Metcher (Australia) Yamaha R6 +22.663
9 Gabor Talmacsi (Hungary) Honda CBR600RR +22.889
10 Joshua Day (United States) Kawasaki ZX-6R +26.923
POINTS (after seven of 13 rounds)
1 Kenan Sofouglu (Turkey) Kawasaki ZX-6R - 117
2 Sam Lowes (Britain) Honda CBR600RR - 101
3 Jules Cluzel (France) Honda CBR600RR - 84
4 Fabien Foret (France) Kawasaki ZX-6R - 83
5 Broc Parkes (Australia) Honda CBR600RR - 66
6 Alex Baldolini (Italy) Triumph Daytona 675 - 54
7 Sheridan Morais (South Africa) Kawasaki ZX-6R - 53
8 Ronan Quarmby (South Africa) Honda CBR600RR - 44
9 Vittorio Iannuzzo (Italy) Yamaha R6 - 41
10 Roberto Tamburini (Italy) Honda CBR600RR - 39
1 Bryan Staring (Australia) Kawasaki ZX-10R - 24min26.928
2 Jeremy Guarnoni (France) Kawasaki ZX-10R +8.073sec
3 Lorenzo Baroni (Italy) BMW S1000 RR +11.320
4 Eddi La Marra (Italy) Ducati 1199 Panigale +14.630
5 Markus Reiterberger (Germany) BMW S1000 RR +15.911
6 Kevin Cochlan (Australia) Ducati 1199 Panigale +24.471
7 Marco Bussolotti (Italy) Ducati 1098R +28.367
8 David McFadden (South Africa) Kawasaki ZX-10R +28.914
9 Kristoffer Bergman (Sweden) Kawasaki ZX-10R +30.096
10 Fabio Massei (Italy) Honda CBR1000RR + 31.619