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Sylvain Guintoli wins race 2 and becomes Championship leader
Phillip Island (Australia), Sunday 23 February 2014 - Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) has won the second race of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island, his career's fifth in the series, in front of the 56,515 spectators attending the event. The Frenchman, now Championship leader after the opening round, was in first place on lap 15 when the race was red flagged, following the technical problem suffered by race 1 winner Eugene Laverty. The Irishman's GSX-R 1000 engine blew as he was running second ahead of Kawasaki Racing Team pairing of Loriz Baz and reigning Champion Tom Sykes, who claimed the remaining podium positions.
Sylvain Guintoli: "I pushed a bit too much in Race 1, I started off really strong but towards the end I couldn't keep the same pace. Track conditions were a lot different from the previous days, but we did a good job anyway. In the second race, I tried to save the tyre a bit and it worked out. Considering what happened to me during the weekend I can't be but happy about this round as I finally managed to get back on the top step of the podium. I would like to thank the people who assisted me during my recovery, I feel quite tired now but there is a long break before the next race to be fully fit."
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) was 4th followed by Pata Honda duo Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, whilst Giugliano's team mate Chaz Davies claimed seventh place ahead of Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) and Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia). Works Aprilia rider Melandri was part of a thrilling ten way battle up front in the early stages, before going wide at Turn 4 during the eighth lap. Two laps later Brit Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) made the same mistake whilst trying to catch the leaders, eventually ending up thirteenth behind EVO riders David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team), tenth, Niccolo Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati), eleventh, and Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), twelfth.
Results: 1. Guintoli (Aprilia) 14 Laps/62.230 km in 15:02'05.586 average 173.124 kph; 2. Baz (Kawasaki) 0.283; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1.103; 4. Giugliano (Ducati) 2.052; 5. Rea (Honda) 4.951; 6. Haslam (Honda) 5.673; 7. Davies (Ducati) 9.664; 8. Melandri (Aprilia) 10.574; 9. Elias (Aprilia) 11.682; 10. Salom (Kawasaki) 15.065; 11. Canepa (Ducati) 16.294; 12. Foret (Kawasaki) 16.919; 13. Lowes (Suzuki) 19.694; 14. Morais (Kawasaki) 27.266; 15. Allerton (BMW) 27.845; 16. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 29.431; 17. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 36.393; 18. Corti (MV Agusta) 37.018; 19. Toth (BMW) 54.093; 20. Yates (EBR) 1'13.385; RT. Laverty (Suzuki) 0.131.
Historic win for Eugene Laverty and Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
Sunday, 23 February 2014 02:16
The Irishman scores his team's maiden win in WSBK.
The eni FIM Superbike World Championship had its first exciting race of the year today at Phillip Island, with Irishman Eugene Laverty scoring a sensational win aboard his GSX-R 1000, making it three in a row with the double he scored at Jerez last yearin the last round. In his debut race with Voltcom Crescent Suzuki, Laverty achieved an historical maiden win for the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki Team. Laverty is also the first Suzuki rider to climb on the top step of the podium since the second race at Kyalami in 2010.
After a poor start of the race, which saw him crossing the line in seventh place at the end of lap 1, and an early battle first with Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) and then with Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike), Laverty started his charge to the leaders thanks to an incredible race pace. Once reached the front runners, the Irishman passed Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team), Marco Melandri and leader Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) to take first position on lap 17.
With Laverty pulling away in the late stages, Melandri got the better of team mate Sylvain Guintoli for second, whilst Giugliano settled for fourth after losing ground in the final laps. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) edged Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) to take fifth place as reigning Champion and Baz's team mate Tom Sykes had a difficult time, eventually ending up seventh ahead of Chaz Davies.
EVO riders David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team), Niccol˛Canepa (Althea Racing Team) and substitute rider for injured Sylvain Barrier Glenn Allerton (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team) put up an exciting battle, with Spaniard David Salom to come out on top to claim 9th.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki's Alex Lowes, Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) all crashed unhurt early on in the race.
Top six results for Pata Honda at Phillip Island
Jonathan Rea took sixth and fifth place finishes in today's two opening races of the 2014 FIM eni World Superbike championship at Phillip Island in Australia. His Pata Honda team-mate Leon Haslam bounced back from a first race crash to take sixth place in race two.
The two 22-lap encounters at the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit, which lies two hours drive south of Melbourne, were won by Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli, although race two was cut to 14 laps when red flags were waved following a technical problem for Laverty.
Starting from the second row of the grid, 28-year-old Rea got a good start to race one and became involved in a race-long battle with Tom Sykes and Loris Baz. His start to race two was even better and he was fighting for a podium place in the early stages before getting pushed wide and losing touch with the leading group.
In contrast, Haslam did not get a good start to race one and crashed out at the fast turn 12 on the fifth lap. The 30-year-old was unhurt but his crew had to work hard to completely re-build his CBR1000RR Fireblade SP in readiness for race two.
The Pata Honda team will re-group for further testing in Spain at the end of March before round two of the championship takes place at Motorland Aragon on 11-13 April.
Jonathan Rea - 6th 5th
I guess we have to be reasonably satisfied with the result here because we've made a big improvement over last year here at Phillip Island. It's clear which areas we need to work on and it's mostly mechanical grip. In race one, some of the guys struggled with tyre problems because it went the full distance, but I was able to look after my tyre which was a good thing. But we still need to make improvements in that area because the guys at the front had no problems. Race two was unfortunately stopped early because I think I was probably conserving my tyre a little more than I should have been. Sykes passed me into turn one but kind of stopped up in the corner and I lost a lot of places and lost touch with the group so the last few laps were quite boring. But I'm quite happy with everyone on my side of the box - we've been making good linear progress. They're not results to jump up and down about but it's a good way to start the season. I'm looking forward to getting back to some more conventional circuits in Europe and to aiming a lot higher than we did here.
Leon Haslam - DNF 6th
I had a big disaster in race one - we had a bit of an electronics issue and then the bike spun from under me at turn 12. We saw what that was and we know the problem in that area but the boys had to work really, really hard to get the bike ready for race two. They put a good setting in the bike that allowed me to run consistent times similar to the leaders' but we just had a few niggly issues that stopped me getting up to them. Me and Johnny had a good battle and then the race got red flagged. It was disappointing that we didn't get to have a bit more fun out on the track but fifth and sixth for the team, considering the issues we've had, is not so bad. We'll go back and work hard for the next one - we've made some steps forward since Friday but we didn't get back to where we were at the test, which was a little disappointing. We know why though, and we'll get it sorted for next time.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Jonathan was sixth in race one after a race-long battle with the two Kawasakis. Considering our problems during practice and getting the bike set up, I think that was OK. Leon crashed out, unfortunately. In race two Jonathan got a really good start and was battling for a podium place for a long while but he got run wide and that created a gap. Leon's second race was much, much better. He got a reasonable start and was fighting in the top eight, eventually getting sixth. It was really encouraging and no less than he and his crew deserved after the promising times during the test here. There's a lot to do, but we have six days of testing before we go to Aragon so we'll come back strong there.
APRILIA STARTS THE NEW WSBK SEASON WITH ONE WIN AND TWO PODIUMS.
GUINTOLI TRIUMPHS IN RACE 2 AT PHILLIP ISLAND AND SHOOTS TO THE TOP OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP.
APRILIA - REIGNING CHAMPION - IS NUMBER ONE IN THE MANUFACTURER STANDINGS.
MELANDRI SECOND IN RACE 1 AND THIRD IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP.
Phillip Island (Australia), 23 February 2014 - On the Australian Phillip Island track for the opening round of the 2014 World Superbike season, Aprilia wins with Sylvain Guintoli in Race 2, takes two podiums in Race 1 and immediately takes back the top spot in both the Rider and Manufacturer standings. It was an extraordinary weekend for the Aprilia Racing RSV4s, key players in both races.
The first part revolved around the duel between the two Aprilia standard bearers, Melandri and Guintoli, along with Irishman Laverty who, after making a comeback on the leading pack which also included Giugliano for a long time, kept his rivals in check in the final laps. Marco Melandri made an excellent second place finish, crossing the line just ahead of his team mate Guintoli (third) who had led the pack at the beginning stages of the race for a long time, however costing him wear on his tyre so that in the final laps he had nothing left on the rear to be able to fend off Laverty's attacks.
In Race 2 the leading pack also included Rea, Baz and Sykes, making a comeback from the rear spots. Guintoli led the first part of the race and after being overtaken by fellow leaders Baz and Laverty once, he took back the lead in the 12th lap. Two laps later an engine failure for Laverty - riding second at the time behind he French Aprilia rider - with a consequent oil spill on the track, forced Laverty to withdraw and the marshals to suspend the race. This meant that the finishing order was decided by the last lap completed which had Guintoli winning in front of Baz and Sykes.
With this performance the Frenchman provides an encore of last year's success (also with the Aprilia RSV4) and, thanks to his third place in Race 1, puts him in the lead for the Rider Championship. Sylvain's win and Melandri's second place in Race 1 place Aprilia at the top of the Manufacturer standings, an excellent bounty for the new season.
After his nice second place in the first race Melandri had a bit of a moment during the eighth lap of the second race, running on after braking too hard and having to re-enter the track in 14th place. From there he made a bold comeback to finish in eighth place, earning 8 points that put him in third place in the rider standings.
Sylvain Guintoli: "In Race 1 maybe I had a little too much faith. I started off strong and toward the end I lost the right feeling with my rear tyre. The conditions were much different than they had been over the last few days but we did a good job anyway. In the second race I tried to look after my tyre and it worked. If I think about everything that happened during the winter I can't help but be pleased with our weekend. I'm finally back on the top step of the podium. I want to thank the guys who looked after me during my recovery. I'm pretty tired now but I'll have a month to recover before the next round".
Marco Melandri: "Race 1 went well. I got off to a good start and then I was able to ride smoothly in the first few laps to conserve my tyres for the end. Unfortunately after the halfway point the bike was sliding around a lot. I wasn't able to be incisive so when Eugene took the lead I preferred holding onto second place. In Race 2 I wanted to use the same tactics again but to overtake Rea I braked harder than usual and the rear wheel came up so I was forced to run on. I'm disappointed because I threw away some important points. I'm sure I still need more experience adjusting to the way the bike reacts and adapting the settings to my riding style. The track conditions also brought out some problems that I had never had before. Now I need to get a handle on the situation so that I'm ready for the next race".
Two fourth place finishes for Giugliano and the Ducati Superbike Team in today's SBK races at Phillip Island
Giugliano brings his 1199 Panigale home in fourth place in the Australian season opener
Davies closes today's races seventh and eighth
Phillip Island (Australia), Sunday 23 February 2014 - Davide Giugliano and the Ducati Superbike team made a very promising start to the 2014 Superbike World Championship today at Phillip Island, closing both races inside the top five, a very encouraging result coming at the end of a positive weekend. Chaz Davies closed the races in seventh and eighth position.
Race 1: Conditions were significantly warmer today, with the track temperature already at 39░C for race 1. Davies made a very quick start from eleventh on the grid, passing several riders through the first corners to position fifth at the end of lap one. On lap two, the British rider made the best lap of the race, 1'30.949, earning his first ?Pirelli best lap award' of the season and setting a new record with a lap time three tenths of a second faster than Laverty's fast lap at this track in 2013. Chaz lost a couple of positions in the subsequent phase and from mid-race tyre wear began to impact on his performance, leaving him with no option but to slow down. Separated from both the group immediately ahead of him and the chasing group, Chaz was able to hold eighth position to the line.
Starting from second position on the grid, Giugliano made a strong start, tucking himself in in third place behind frontrunners Melandri and Guintoli. He held this position through the opening stages but, unfortunately, he too began to suffer from a lack of rear grip throughout the second half of the race that prevented him from being able to continue his battle with the three leaders (Melandri, Guintoli and Laverty). The young Italian rider thus closed this first race of the 2014 season in fourth place, a very respectable result considering the hot track conditions and ensuing circumstances.
Race 2: The track temperature had risen to 48░C for the second race. Davies was lying ninth after the first lap but then quickly moved up through the field to position himself fifth by lap eight. Unfortunately an electronic problem caused by a stone perforating the front fairing of his Panigale slowed him down from the tenth lap onwards and, when the race was brought to a premature end after 14 laps (with Laverty's bike having left oil on track), Davies crossed the line in final seventh place.
Giugliano again started strongly and was once again in third position behind Melandri and Guintoli. He lost a few places through the subsequent laps as he tried to manage his race in the tricky conditions. He had just started to push, and was starting to catch those ahead of him when the red flag came out, signalling the end of the race. He therefore closed in fourth position for the second time today.
At the conclusion of this first championship round, Giugliano lies fourth in the general standings, with 26 points, while Davies is eighth with 17 points. Ducati places fourth in the manufacturer's classification with 26 points.
Quotes after the races:
Davide Giugliano - Ducati Superbike Team #34
"In race 1 I was quite relaxed. I managed to lap fast by only riding at about 70%, saving that extra 30% for the end of the race but unfortunately the grip became an issue maybe five or six from the end. In the second race, I immediately realised that conditions were warmer than the first and so I tried to limit the damage by holding back a little. Then later I started to push and was catching those ahead of me - I think I could have battled for the podium if the race had gone full distance but unfortunately they stopped the race after 14 laps. Anyway, overall it's been a great weekend. We've shown that, as far as the chassis and my riding is concerned, that we've arrived. We were consistently fast throughout the weekend and this gives us confidence for the next races. Today's results are very encouraging for me, for the team and for Ducati."
Chaz Davies - Ducati Superbike Team #7
"I am a little disappointed in terms of race results. In race one we had a rear tyre issue and I gradually lost grip from maybe the mid-race point. Race 2 was a little better, I was hanging in there with the front group, managing to edge my way up through the field to about fifth. Then at about lap 10 I felt like I lost power and so I slowed down because I didn't know what was happening. It was a shame as I think we were in for a better result in race 2. I felt more comfortable, with the team having made some changes between the first and second races. Anyway, there are positives to take away from the weekend. Solid points in each race for example - it's the first time I've scored points in both Superbike races at Phillip Island. I also made the fastest lap of race one. But I know we're capable of more, everyone's working hard and the bike is feeling good. Roll on Aragon."
Ernesto Marinelli - Ducati Superbike Project Director
"As often happens at this track, the stresses on the rear tyre somewhat conditioned our races today, but we nevertheless brought home important points. Davide's two fourth place finishes, coming at the end of a weekend in which he was consistently among the frontrunners, and Chaz's lap record in race 1 confirm that their talent combined with the potential of our Panigale allows us to fight for the positions that count. I'm very pleased with the work of our entire team and I want to thank the guys in Ducati Corse in Bologna who, with hard work and determination, are moving the development of this project forward."