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Double Victory for Melandri

World Superbike 2014

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www.motorcycle-usa.com

Aprilia Racing's Marco Melandri was masterful in both World Superbike races at Jerez, taking his second double victory of the year. His teammate, Sylvain Guintoli, finished with a set of second-place results while Ducati's Chaz Davies and Kawasaki's Tom Sykes each earned third-place results.

Race 1 

Melandri had some ups and downs on his way to the top-step in Race 1. The Italian throttled to the front of the pack off the start, but lost position in the opening shuffle to a number of riders, settling him in sixth by Lap 3. It was Melandri’s teammate, Sylvain Guintoli, who took command of the lead in the initial stages, followed Kawasaki’s Loris Baz and Suzuki’s Alex Lowes. Ducati Team’s Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano settled into fourth and fifth after dispatching Melandri while the current championship points leader, Baz’s teammate Tom Sykes, paced back in seventh.

At the front, Guintoli and Baz were at each other’s throats through the early portion of the race, with the Kawasaki rider pushing ahead of Guintoli at the end of Lap 4. The Aprilia ace would hold in the runner-up spot for a handful of laps after that, but by Lap 8 he answered back and regained the lead. Further back, Davies and Giugliano battled for position before pushing ahead of Lowes, with Giugliano taking third from the Suzuki rider on Lap 5 and Davies getting fourth on the following rotation. Lowes continued to drop back in the ranks as the race progressed and his luck finally ran out on Lap 14, when he dropped the bike in Turn 1.



As the race reached mid-point, Melandri was looking more and more confident, starting his string of passes with a move on Davies for fourth on Lap 8. Two laps later he was able to get past Giugliano as well. Giugliano remained tenacious in his efforts to regain position on Melandri and pushed a bit too hard, suffering an off entering Turn 1 of Lap 12. At this point, Melandri was closing in on Baz for second and it took just a few more laps to line up a move on the Kawasaki ace. On Lap 14, Melandri dove to the inside of Baz entering Turn 6, but it was a tight squeeze and neither rider wanted to give an inch. Melandri’s bike and Baz’s handlebar made contact on the way through, causing the Kawasaki rider to lose the front and slide off track.

Guintoli maintained the lead a few more times around the circuit but Melandri was clearly on another level. The Italian closed the gap and made a clean pass entering Turn 1 of Lap 17. Melandri then stretched out a lead on his teammate, losing a slight bit of ground near the end but still finishing 1.3 seconds faster than Guintoli.

After battling for position early on, Davies was left to finish a lonely third. Behind, Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea moved up a few positions early on and then benefitted from the attrition at the front of the pack to cross the line in fourth-place. 

Sykes trailed in fifth after a precarious first outing. It started immediately when the Kawasaki rider struggled to keep a straight line off the start, cutting across the field and nearly taking out a handful of riders. He slotted into seventh after losing a few spots in the opening laps and then struggled to gain ground as the race progressed. He nearly lost the bike halfway through and ran off track momentarily, but kept control and regained the position lost in the incident.

Lowes’ teammate, Eugene Laverty, finished the contest in sixth followed by Rea’s teammate, Leon Haslam, in seventh. Red Devils Roma’s Toni Elias took eighth, keeping just ahead of a fierce battle for the top EVO spot which raged between Kawasaki’s David Salom and BMW Motorrad Italia SBK’s Sylvain Barrier.

World Superbike Jerez Race 1 Results 2014 
1. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 
3. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 
4. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 
5. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 
6. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) 
7. Leon Haslam (Honda) 
8. Toni Elias (Aprilia) 
9. David Salom (Kawasaki) 
10. Sylvain Barrier (BMW) 
11. Jeremy Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 
12. Alessandro Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 
13. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 
14. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 
15. Claudio Corti (MV Agusta) 
16. Gabor Rizmayer (BMW) 
17. Geoff May (EBR) 
18. Imre Toth (BMW) 

Race 2

Melandri appeared even stronger in Race 2 on his way to the double, slotting into second behind Baz on the opening lap. The Aprilia ace lost a few positions as riders jostled for position through the initial stages, but Melandri kept himself within the top-five before beginning his push for the lead.



Giugliano, Guintoli and Sykes were all able to get through on Melandri during the early shuffle. Giugliano was at the limit though, and on Lap 2 he got out of shape and dropped to fourth behind Guintoli and Sykes. The following lap saw Guintoli get ahead of Baz for the lead through Turn 1 and in the same lap Sykes was able to pass his teammate for second. Melandri began his ascent as well, getting ahead of Giugliano for fourth. The Ducati rider’s problems only got worse after that, with a technical issue affecting the rear of his bike mid-corner on Lap 4, forcing him to stand up and run off into the gravel. 

Melandri continued his push with another aggressive move on Baz for third. The pass sent Baz wide, which allowed Davies to sneak by as well into fourth. Baz stated afterward that the team made no changes to his bike from Race 1 to Race 2, but the French rider was nowhere near as competitive for podium position during the second contest, dropping to seventh by the checkers.

Running order settled for a number of laps, with Guintoli maintaining his place out front followed by Sykes in second and Melandri in third. Halfway through Melandri had closed on Sykes and entering Lap 11 moved past the Kawasaki rider into second-place. Guintoli had a slight gap at that point and it took Melandri another five laps to close in, but with four to go the Italian made a clean pass entering Turn 1 for the lead. Melandri stretched his lead out through the final stages to almost three seconds.

Davies held on to fourth just ahead of Rea in fifth. Laverty scored sixth with Baz and Haslam and Lowes trailing through 10.

Sykes remains the overall points leader, but lost a bit of ground to Guintoli in second, who now sits 31 points adrift of the top-spot. Rea is third followed by Melandri in fourth and Baz in fifth.

World Superbike Jerez Race 2 Results 2014 
1. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 
4. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 
5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 
6. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) 
7. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 
8. Leon Haslam (Honda) 
9. Alex Lowes (Suzuki) 
10. Toni Elias (Aprilia) 
11. Sylvain Barrier (BMW) 
12. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 
13. Jeremy Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 
14. Gabor Rizmayer (BMW) 
15. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 
16. Aaron Yates (EBR)

World Superbike Championship Points 2014 
1. Tom Sykes, 352 
2. Sylvain Guintoli, 321 
3. Jonathan Rea, 285 
4. Marco Melandri, 267 
5. Loris Baz, 262 
6. Chaz Davies, 188 
7. Eugene Laverty, 154 
8. Davide Giugliano, 153 
9. Toni Elias, 151 
10. Leon Haslam, 150

 
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