World Superbikes, Round One, Phillip Island
The early first round for the World Superbikes at Phillip Island kicked off this weekend. Riders and teams descended onto the Australian track ready for war. With the retirement of reigning Champion Max Biaggi on his invincible Aprilia last year, this season there's a #1 spot to be filled, and the riders and teams know it.
After a couple of exciting days of practice and qualifying Sunday came and it was time to get racing. Eugene Laverty of Aprilia Racing Team had a great start from second position on the grid and shot into first. He attempted from the off to get some distance between him and the other riders. But eventually the gap on the Irishman was closed by teammate Sylivain Guinoli who overtook Laverty on Lap 15 and secured the race, holding position till the chequered flag.
Mid race Laverty also had to deal with Michel Fabrizio (also on an RSV4) who had closed the gap and took 2nd place. Laverty held in there though and waited for the last lap where he executed a perfect move on the Italian. Outside the top three Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team) battled hard with fellow Brit Tom Sykes all the way to the finish line. Chaz won the battle in the end taking 4th position followed by Sykes and Loris Baz.
Further down the pack Leon Haslem (Pata Honda World Superbike) who was going well in the early part of the race lost some momentum but still managed to finish 7th ahead of teammate Jonathan Rea.
The big surprise in this race was the crashing out Superpole winner Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) who accidentally hit Marco Melandri from behind after out-breaking himself on turn 4 of lap 13. Unluckily for Checa this put him out of Race 2 also.
After the drama of Race 1, Race 2 was set to be another battle of Aprilias. Eugene Laverty who rode like a demon in the final stages of the race secured the victory in style. Teammate Guintoli had to settle for second this time. Marco Melandri who was taken out of the first race by Checa made himself known on the BMW finishing in third.
Michel Fabrizio after a long and hard earned catch up to the top three made a mistake when trying to get past Melandri in 3rd which sent him running wide. Luckily this didn't lose him 4th place though and he took the points.
Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) continued his form even with his far from perfect fitness condition finishing 5th. Followed by Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia), Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike).
Welshman Chaz Davis had a nightmare on lap 1 when he collided with Loris Baz. The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team rider managed to get the bike upright and moving again and made it to the pits for a tyre change, but was later penalised with a ride-through by Race Direction for not observing the 2013 pit-stop regulation. He finished in 17th and Loris Baz sadly had to retire from the race.
Here are all the standings and figures from all the Races last weekend:
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27.02.13 - Big Ed