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Split Wins in the Wet

World Superbike 2014

maddix park mx

www.motorcycle-usa.com   by Byron Wilson 
Aprilia Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri split wins in wet conditions during the penultimate round of the 2014 World Superbike Championship at Magny-Cours. In Race 1 it was Guintoli at the top followed by Melandri in second and Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea in third. For Race 2 Melandri held on to the front despite his team’s instructions to drop a position, with Guintioli trailing in second and Rea’s teammate, Leon Haslam, in third.

Race 1 

The track was thoroughly soaked for the first contest of the day. Rea ran out to the front off the start followed by Sykes and Ducati’s Davide Giugliano. Melandri and Guintoli slotted into the four and five spots as riders settled in for the difficult 19-lap battle. During the initial laps Giugliano’s teammate, Chaz Davies, got into the top-five mix as Giugliano dropped back to sixth. Sykes lost position to Guintoli as the Aprilia ace made a push for the front, getting ahead of Rea for the lead on Lap 3. Riders started to succumb to the conditions early as well, with Davies dropping his machine in the initial stages, followed by Voltcom Suzuki’s Eugene Laverty soon after. Laverty’s teammate, Alex Lowes, didn’t crash but was forced to pull into the pits during the second lap with issues that caused him to take a DNF.

Positions continued to change hands as the race progressed, Giugliano making moves up the ranks to take second by Lap 4. The following lap, however, saw Giugliano lose grip and go down. Sykes’ teammate, Loris Baz, was making headway too, getting into third-place after Giugliano went down.

At the halfway point, it was Guintoli, Melandri, Baz, Sykes and Rea through the top five positions. Rea gave Sykes a thorough challenge for fourth-place and eventually got through on both Kawasaki riders for a podium spot. Sykes and Baz carried the battle all the way to the finish, with Baz receiving instructions from his team to let Sykes through to help mitigate the loss in points to his main title contender, Guintoli. Baz ignored the instructions until the final corner of the final lap before slowing just enough to allow Sykes through for fourth-place.

At the front, Melandri had closed a multi-second gap and moved through on Guintoli and was clearly on pace to take the win. His team began to insist that he cede his position to Guintoli, a move he was reluctant to obey. On Lap 17, though, Melandri relented with a look and wave, allowing Guintoli to move past for the lead. Melandri remained right on his teammate’s rear tire to the finish.

“This was a great weekend for the team,” said Guintoli. “We are definitely back in the running for the Championship. When I saw the weather forecast yesterday evening I immediately thought that this would be a good opportunity to get some important points. I took a few risks at the beginning of the races and then, once I had created a good gap, I concentrated on staying focused to avoid any pointless risks and to take home the best possible result. I'm very happy but I am already thinking about Qatar, where the championship will be decided.”

Haslam finished in sixth-place followed by Giugliano, who was able to remount and finish in seventh. Wildcard rider from 3C Racing, Lorenzo Lanzi, took eighth ahead of his teammate, Max Neurkirchner, in ninth. BMW Motorrad Italia SBK’s Sylvain Barrier, finished in 10th.

At the end of the first race, Guintoli was able to cut Sykes’ lead in the championship from 33 to 19 points. 

World Superbike Magny-Cours Race 1 Results 2014 
1. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 
2. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 
3. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 
5. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 
6. Leon Haslam (Honda) 
7. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 
8. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) 
9. Max Neukirchner (Ducati) 
10. Sylvain Barrier (BMW) 
11. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 
12. Jeremy Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 
13. Claudio Corti (MV Agusta) 
14. Bryan Staring (Kawasaki) 
15. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) 
16. Nicolas Salchaud (MV Agusta) 
17. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 
18. Geoff May (EBR) 
19. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) 
20. Imre Toth (BMW)

Race 2 

The conditions remained wet for the second race, and Rea once again made his way to the front off the start. Giugliano trailed in second with Sykes in third and the Aprilia duo in fourth and fifth. Giugliano made an early move past Rea for the lead where he’d hold until Lap 3, but then disaster struck again with the Ducati ace taking a bit too much speed into the corner and crashing out.

Sykes lost position to Melandri and Guintoli during the early going, but neither rider could get past Rea during the first half of the race. By Lap 11, though, Rea’s day ended early with a crash in the same spot that claimed Giugliano. Guintoli assumed the front after the Honda rider went down, with Melandri following close behind in second.

On Lap 12 Melandri moved to the lead after Guintoli ran wide through a corner, and from there opened a decent gap on his teammate. The instructions to give up his position at the front started coming from the pit board once again, but this time Melandri had none of it, maintaining his advantage to the line for the win.

“Today we did a great job,” said Melandri. “The bike was fantastic and I was able to confirm my performance in Jerez. Sylvain was very fast and in the first laps it was difficult to overtake, but we created a good gap in front of our rivals straight way. The win in Race 2 is fair compensation for my efforts and those of the Team, and on top of that it put me in third place in the standings. I have demonstrated a good pace from the halfway point of the season, so now we'll see how things go in Qatar.”

Further back, Sykes was holding steady to third-place but had Haslam charging hard to close the gap from fourth. During the final laps the two riders had a back and forth battle as Haslam pushed hard to gain the podium spot. On Lap 18 the Honda rider made an outside line pass stick for third.

Sykes crossed the line in fourth, with Lanzi trailing in fifth and Neukirchner in sixth. Baz was hardly a factor during the second race of the day, managing to hold to seventh by the checkers. MV Agusta’s Claudio Corti took eighth with Davies following in ninth and Althea Racing’s Niccolo Canepa taking 10th. Only 13 riders finished the second race at Magny-Cours, the rest crashing or retiring in the treacherous conditions.

Sykes will enter the final round of the year at Losail with a 12-point advantage over Guintoli. Melandri is third overall, with no chance at the title, 66 points adrift of the leader. Rea is fourth followed by Baz in fifth.

World Superbike Magny-Cours Race 2 Results 2014 
1. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 
3. Leon Haslam (Honda) 
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 
5. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) 
6. Max Neukirchner (Ducati) 
7. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 
8. Claudio Corti (MV Agusta) 
9. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 
10. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 
11. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) 
12. Gabor Rizmayer (BMW) 
13. Imre Toth (BMW)

World Superbike Championship Points 2014 
1. Tom Sykes, 378 
2. Sylvain Guintoli, 366 
3. Marco Melandri, 312 
4. Jonathan Rea, 301 
5. Loris Baz, 282 
6. Chaz Davies, 195 
7. Leon Haslam, 176 
8. Davide Giugliano, 162 
9. Eugene Laverty, 154 
10. Toni Elias, 151
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