MONTEREY, Calif. – Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) won the second eni FIM Superbike World Championship race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in spectacular fashion on Sunday in front of 41.175 excited spectators. After passing Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Team) at turn five with two laps to go, the Irishman made the exact same move on Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) on the following lap, breaking the spell that was holding the Brit at the front for most of the race.
“It was not an easy race,” Laverty admitted. “I’d like to thank my team because they made some set-up adjustments to my bike that worked perfectly. I pushed to the limit on the last lap, Davide and Tom were really strong but I’m happy for the win. It was an unexpected result, but now I’m now second in the standings ahead of two very different rounds. I would like to dedicate this win to my track engineer Marco Bertolatti, who’s just become father.”
Sykes tried everything he could to defend his position under braking, but once he lost the lead he was passed by both Giugliano and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), crossing the line in fourth place. The works BMW rider successfully stayed ahead of the Championship leader for third, while Giugliano did the best he could to snatch his first WSBK race win, eventually settling for second.
“It was great to win yesterday and I led for a long time today but that was the first time we have struggled all weekend,” Sykes said. “We were six or seven tenths off our best times in the same track conditions and we have to think about why that was. We know what our potential was here again today. We can keep improving and we have a couple of good circuits coming up so we will move on with confidence. In less than a week’s time we will be in France and doing it all over again.”
Sylvain Guintoli did not manage to catch the leading pack to be in contention for the win, but the end result helped him stay in touch with Sykes in the standings, as he ended up fifth ahead of fellow Frenchman Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), Toni Elias (Red Devils Aprilia) wildcard Roger Hayden (Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki) and David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team).
It was a disappointing race for Team Ducati Alstare, as both Niccolò Canepa, who was running fourth, and team mate Ayrton Badovini suffered crashes, while Welshman Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) had to pull in due to a technical problem on the second lap.
After Sunday’s results, Sykes is still the Championship leader with a 23-point advantage over Laverty, who has jumped to second position in the overall standings. Guintoli is now third, a point behind his team mate while Melandri is now 42 points short from the lead.
1.Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 26 Laps/93.860km in 36:44.555 (153.272km/h)
2. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) +0.112
3. Marco Melandri (BMW) +2.051
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +2.304
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +2.959
6. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki) +10.187
7. Toni Elias (Aprilia) +17.789
8. Roger Hayden (Suzuki) +20.602
9. David Salom (Kawasaki) +22.055
10. Michel Fabrizio (Honda) +23.472
11. Leon Haslam (Honda) +24.118
12. Blake Young (Suzuki) +29.563
13. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki) +32.565
14. Danny Eslick (Suzuki) +51.777
15. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) +1:05.824
Point Standings (Round 12 of 14)
1.Tom Sykes 361
2. Eugene Laverty 338
3. Sylvain Guintoli 337
4. Marco Melandri 319
5. Chaz Davies 259
6. Loris Baz 180
7. Michel Fabrizio 177
8. Jonathan Rea 176
9. Davide Giugliano 169
10. Jules Cluzel 160
11. Leon Camier 114
12. Ayrton Badovini 114
13. Max Neukirchner 84
14. Leon Haslam 83
15. Carlos Checa 80