These just in:
Melandri does the double in Malaysia
Sepang (Malaysia), Sunday 8 June 2014 - Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) came out victorious in the second World Superbike race of the day at the Sepang International Circuit, making it two out of two in front of an enthusiastic Malaysian crowd that reached a total of 34,528 spectators over the three days. The Italian got the better of teammate Guintoli in the final lap of the race, with the two swapping positions three times before crossing the line. 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.
Marco Melandri: "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 through the Kawasakis before try and catch my teammate. During the last lap I tried everything I could up 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 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.
Tom Sykes: "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 is was difficult to see the two guys up front go 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 can."
The race 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 3 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).
Alessandro Andreozzi (Pedercini Kawasaki), and his team mate Romain Lanusse both crashed out, thankfully without injury.
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.
WSBK - APRILIA DOMINATES AT SEPANG
TWO WINS BY MARCO MELANDRI, TWO ONE-TWO FINISHES FOR THE RSV4
THANKS TO HIS TWO SECOND PLACE FINISHES SYLVAIN GUINTOLI IS NOW SECOND IN THE RIDER STANDINGS
Sepang (Malaysia), 8 June 2014 - The first ever World Superbike Championship round at Sepang bore the Aprilia signature, dominator in both races. Marco Melandri's double win and Sylvain Guintoli's double second place confirmed the supremacy demonstrated from the first practice laps of the weekend where the RSV4, including the "satellite" bike ridden by Toni Elias, showed just how much they liked the Malaysian track.
Race 1 had the two RSV4s ridden by Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli pulling away at the front from the very first lap to battle for the win. It was the rider from Ravenna who brought it home in the end, skilfully bridging the gap that had been created after a crashing pileup in the first few turns. Once he had caught up with his team mate, Marco overtook him in one of the braking sections on the tenth lap, holding onto the lead until the chequered flag.
Race 2 changed in form but not in substance. A red flag in the third lap decreed a restart for a race now shortened to 10 laps and the starting grid based on the riders' positions at the time the race had been stopped, which put the three RSV4s on the front row. Sylvain Guintoli took the lead straight away while Marco Melandri battled to chase down his team mate.
In the final lap the two Aprilia riders made a series of passes that were as spectacular as they were clean, with Marco Melandri prevailing after Sylvain's last ditch attempt in the turn right before the finish line. It was a flying finish, the second one-two of the day and overall standings that were radically changed. This brings Melandri up to fifth place in the rider standings, whereas only 13 points separate Guintoli from current leader, Tom Sykes. Aprilia shortens the gap in the Manufacturer standings as well, where they lie in second place just 4 points from the top.
Marco Melandri: "A double win that was just what we needed! Despite the difficulties we never gave up. We kept working and fighting. I had a good feeling straight away with my RSV4 here. The conditions in Race 1 were difficult but I managed to catch up to Sylvain. After overtaking him I set my own pace. I knew I could defend well in the braking sections and I was able to manage the race to the end. Race 2 was even harder because I also had to battle with the Kawasakis before catching Sylvain. In the last tap I thought I would give it a try. I had to give 100 percent down to the chequered flag. Anyway, all the riders deserve admiration today because riding in these conditions is not easy at all. I want to dedicate this win to Manu, her belly and all the guys on the Team. See you at Misano!"
Sylvain Guintoli: "In Race 1 I thought I had implemented my strategy well, but unfortunately toward the end Marco just had a really good pace and forced me into a few mistakes. I think I did better in Race 2, trying to pull the pin straight away, but toward the end Marco quite simply had just a little more. I tried to fight back and I think we gave anybody watching the race plenty of entertainment in that last lap! We earned some important points in the championship and showed that Aprilia is back out front with a great day. Now we'll get some rest after this really tiring weekend."
A solid fourth place finish for Davies and the Ducati Superbike Team today at Sepang
Sepang (Malaysia), Sunday 8 June 2014 - A strong performance by Chaz Davies and the Ducati Superbike Team in today's first Superbike race at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia; the British rider crossed the line in fourth place, before concluding race two in eighth position; Davide Giugliano finished the two races eighth and tenth.
Race 1 - Today's races were played out in very hot conditions (air temperature 32°C, track 52°C) and high levels of humidity. Starting from eighth on the grid, Davies was quickly able to make up a number of positions and was lapping fourth through the opening stages. He battled with Elias and got past him on lap six to move up into third position. In the final laps, a drop in grip prevented Chaz from defending his position as he would have wanted and he was passed by Laverty. The Ducati man then continued to fight it out to the wire with Elias, ultimately crossing the line ahead of the Spaniard to earn a very worthy fourth place finish.
For Giugliano it was a more frenetic race, and not helped by the fact that he felt unwell last night and awoke this morning with a fever. A collision at the second corner caused several riders to crash in front of Davide and the Italian rider had to almost stop in order to avoid suffering the same fate, falling back to fourteenth position as a result. Pushing hard to recover, Davide was able to pass several riders over the next two laps and was already up into seventh by lap three. Fighting with Haslam, Giugliano passed the British rider on lap seven only to be repassed soon after. The Italian gave it his all to the line but, losing ground in the final stages due to a lack of grip, he had to settle for final eighth position.
Race 2 - Temperatures had further increased for the second race, with the track up to 59°C. The two Ducati Superbike riders got off to a fairly good start and were lying sixth (Giugliano) and eighth (Davies) when, on lap four, Race Direction stopped the race with a red flag after another rider's bike left oil on track. A ?quick restart' and the race, shortened to just 10 laps, got underway. This time Davide positioned eighth after the opening lap, followed by Chaz, tenth. Both riders were able to pass Haslam early on and towards mid-race they both battled with Laverty but, losing ground in the closing stages, with a more dramatic drop in grip than in race one, the Ducati men closed the race in final eighth (Davies) and tenth (Giugliano) position.
After six of fourteen scheduled rounds, Davies is in sixth position in the general standings, with 130 points, with Giugliano right behind him in seventh place (96 points). Ducati lies fourth in the manufacturer's classification with 158 points.
Quotes after the races:
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) - 4th, 8th
"The races today were about as tough as we'd expected really. The main problem was a lack of side grip but then that also exaggerates other things as a result, for example the electronics are not so smooth when the edge grip is so low. The feeling was fairly similar in both races, perhaps a small improvement in race 2 after we made some changes, but we need to get on top of the side grip problem in order to be able to accelerate better off the turns. I was fairly happy with the race 1 result. Anyway, I felt that I did all I could here and we'll continue to work to resolve the grip issues."
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) - 8th, 10th
"It's a pity about race 1 as it's not the first time Baz has done something like this and this time more than one rider fell and I lost many positions in trying to avoid the collision. I tried to accelerate as much as possible after that and was able to get by several of the fast guys but after a certain point there was no more grip. The second race didn't go well. We got away ok in the restarted race but a drop in grip after only three laps prevented me from riding as I wanted to. A difficult day all in all but I can say that in these conditions, and considering that the flu has left me feeling pretty weak, it was already a result to finish both races. I don't like eighth and tenth but just this once I will settle for these results."
Ernesto Marinelli - Ducati Superbike Project Director
"Considering that this track is not so favourable for us, the results achieved here today are not so bad. Chaz just missed out on the podium in race one. A real pity for Davide, because a fever and weakness due to flu surely didn't help matters in what were already extreme conditions. But thanks to his determination and the Clinica Mobile's help, he was able to complete both races. Rear grip, especially in race 2 in which temperatures were higher, has been our main problem this weekend. We will therefore need to look at the data to try to understand how we can improve when it is this hot. So our work continues and we will now prepare for Misano as best we can."
Pata Honda riders gather points under Malaysian sun
Pata Honda riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam scored valuable championship points in today's two sixth-round World Superbike championship races at Sepang in Malaysia but were unable to challenge at the front of the field.
Today's two 16-lap encounters at the fast and flowing 5.548km Sepang circuit near Kuala Lumpur were both won by Marco Melandri, with Jonathan Rea finishing the two races in sixth position as he battled his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP with temperatures in the mid-30s and the track above 50˚C.
Rea was innocently caught in a first lap crash in the first outing and was forced off the Sepang circuit at turn three before rejoining in last place. The 27-year-old quickly set about taking advantage of the absence of series leader Tom Sykes and scored ten valuable championship points at the flag.
Race two was interrupted by oil on the track and restarted over ten laps, with Rea starting from seventh place. He matched the pace of riders in front of him but was not able to improve on his first race result.
Rea's Pata Honda team-mate, Leon Haslam got a good start to race one but experienced corner entry problems on his way to seventh place. His second outing was no easier in the Sepang heat and the 30-year-old British rider could finish no better than eleventh.
Jonathan Rea - 6th and 6th
It's been a very tough weekend and it's not where we want to be. But we kind of made some steps forward when it mattered, especially in race two when I was able to carry a much better pace than I have all weekend in the heat. But it seems our engine braking system is too sensitive to different conditions and different circuits, which is frustrating because when I had grip at the beginning I had no problem entering the corners but at the end of the race I had a lot of chatter from the rear when the grip went down. But I really enjoyed riding this track, even though we didn't get the full potential out of the CBR this weekend. I look forward to the next race at Misano because it's a circuit that I love.
Leon Haslam - 7th and 11th
I think we've both struggled this weekend, and I'm not sure whether it's the hot conditions or the low grip levels. We made a different plan for this weekend on the chassis and it's definitely showed up some positives. We have a couple of technical issues which set us back a little but in the race it was quite difficult with me and Jonathan riding around for the lesser points positions which is not ideal. Hopefully we can learn a lot from this weekend and take that to Misano.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Jonathan did not really have good qualifying or practice sessions and we went back to a setting from yesterday. Two sixth places were not too bad under the circumstances and probably the maximum for this track for us at the moment. We'll be working hard to be able to fight again for the podium at Misano. Leon was able to stay with Jonathan quite well when he passed him in race one and we made some positive steps during the weekend. His position in race two was a bit of a disappointment though, so we'll have to see what happened there. All in all it's been quite a tough weekend so we look forward to going back to Europe and Misano.