JEREZ, Spain – The Spanish Round of the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship proved to be as important as expected for this year’s title race. With Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) taking his second double of the season on Sunday, his teammate Sylvain Guintoli, who was twice second at the flag, managed to narrow the gap to series leader Tom Sykes to 31 points. The reigning champion was fifth in the first race and third in the second but was never able to show his usual speed this time at the Jerez Circuit.
“After the crash in Race 2 at Laguna Seca I was very disappointed because we could have taken a double win there,” Melandri said. “This weekend my team and I started off well straight away and changed very little on the bike.
“My RSV4 performed very well today. The second race was a bit more difficult because of the higher temperatures. I tried to be consistent even though I wasn’t really fast at the beginning of the race, but I managed to keep a quick pace and bridge the gap to the top. This was a great Sunday for me. Now I can relax for a few days before getting back on the track.”
In one of the closest races of the season so far Melandri took the win in race one at Jerez after a 20-lap encounter that saw the leading group of eight riders exchanging places at almost every turn in the early stages. Melandri scored his fourth win as factory Aprilia rider and the 17th of his career.
From the start the Aprilia duo of Melandri and Guintoli led the pack with the Frenchman passing his Italian teammate at turn 3.
Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) took the lead at the end of the fourth lap and the two compatriots began to ease away. Not content with second, Guintoli responded and retook the lead on lap 8 with the chasing pack, now led by Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) closing in.
Giugliano, who had been passed for third by Melandri, crashed out at the start of the 11th lap while reigning champion Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) also ran off the track at the end of the long back straight as he attempted to improve from seventh.
After running as high as third on the opening two laps Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) crashed unhurt from ninth. He was followed a lap later by Baz, who went down after making contact with the back of Melandri’s Aprilia.
At the flag it was all smiles in the Aprilia camp with Melandri coming home ahead of Guintoli with Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) taking the final podium position in third.
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) was fourth with Sykes and Eugene Laverty fifth and sixth, respectively.
Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia) was just beaten to top spot in the EVO battle coming home in 10th overall just behind David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team), who was ninth.
Melandri took his second double of the year after another dominating performance in race 2. The experienced Italian rider elevated himself into the lead in the final third of the encounter after overtaking his teammate Guintoli, then pulled away to secure the first position at the checkered flag. The former 250cc World Champion added another win to his tally to become the second most successful Italian race winner in the series after Max Biaggi.
Thanks to another second place finish, Guintoli narrowed the gap to the top of the standings to 31 points as championship leader Sykes was third.
“A lot of hard riding got me the podium in race 2 because physically it was really difficult,” Sykes said. “I had to use a lot of rider input. We made some changes in race 2 and came close to the front in third place. There was nothing more I could do and tried my hardest.
“I always thought this weekend could be a little bit uphill. Overall, I have to say I am satisfied, particularly as we had some misfortunes in race 1. We did a decent job and we have not lost too much ground. I am very motivated and we have tried a lot of things this weekend. We will continue with our racing season and the guys have worked super hard to cater to my requests and needs here, so it was nice to repay them with a podium finish in race 2.”
Completing the top six were Davies, Rea and Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) while the best EVO classified rider was Barrier, who finished 11th overall and comfortably ahead of 12th placed Sheridan Morais (Iron Brain Grillini Kawasaki), who scored one of his best results of the year.
Giugliano endured another difficult race as he was forced to retire at the end of lap 3 due to a technical problem. Both EVO points leader Salom and Alessandro Andreozzi (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) failed to make it to the finish line after falling off their respective machines.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) became the 2014 World Supersport Champion in style by winning at Jerez as his closest championship rival Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) crashed out of the lead at the end of the penultimate lap.
Completing the podium were Intermoto Kawasaki Ponyexpres team mates PJ Jacobsen and Florian Marino.
Jack Kennedy (CIA Insurance Honda), Kev Coghlan (DMC-Panavto Yamaha) and Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) rounded out the top six while former champion Kenan Sofuoglu (San Carlo Puccetti Racing), who had to start from the pit lane, rode an incredible race to claim three points at the flag and had the accolade of the fastest lap.
A reduced 10-lap FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup saw a tense race long fight between three riders with the honours eventually going to Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati), who claimed his second win of the season and with it retook the lead in the championship by five points.
Kyle Smith (Agro-On Wil Racedays Honda) was back on the podium in second with Lorenzo Savadori (Team Pedercini) completed a competitive podium in the Spanish sun.
Sunday’s result means the championship will be decided at the final round in France in a few weeks with the narrowest of margins separating Mercado and Savadori at the head of the standings.
Josh Harland (Josh Harland Racing) won Sunday’s 10-lap Pata European Junior Cup race at Jerez after a thrilling battle from that was decided by a split of a second between eight riders at the finish line. Angelo Licciardi (S.E.F.A.B Racing) and Illan Fernandez (Evo Kids Racing) completed the podium.
Sixth place Augusto Fernandez (Wil Sport) now needs only one point at Magny-Cours to grab the title.
World Superbike Race 1 Results
1.Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 20 Laps/88.460km in 34:20.164 (154.578km/h)
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +1.397
3. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +4.283
4. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +5.705
5. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +6.979
6. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) +7.342
7. Leon Haslam (Honda) +14.868
8. Toni Elias (Aprilia) +23.853
9. David Salom (Kawasaki) +25.886
10. Sylvain Barrier (BMW) +26.536
11. Jeremy Guarnoni (Kawasaki) +41.308
12. Alessandro Andreozzi (Kawasaki) +46.672
13. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) +48.742
14. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) +50.131
15. Claudio Corti (MV Agusta) +1:03.677
16. Gabor Rizmayer (BMW) +1:14.881
17. Geoff May (EBR) +1:22.832
18. Imre Toth (BMW) +1:35.170
RT. Aaron Yates (EBR)
RT. Loris Baz (Kawasaki)
RT. Alex Lowes (Suzuki)
RT. Davide Giugliano (Ducati)
RT. Bryan Staring (Kawasaki)
World Superbike Race 2 Results
1.Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 20 Laps/88.460km in 34:25.940 (154.146km/h)
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +2.845
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +6.097
4. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +7.749
5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +7.935
6. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) +10.510
7. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) +16.078
8. Leon Haslam (Honda) +16.098
9. Alex Lowes (Suzuki) +16.554
10. Toni Elias (Aprilia) +25.840
11. Sylvain Barrier (BMW) +36.839
12. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) +55.531
13. Jeremy Guarnoni (Kawasaki) +55.980
14. Gabor Rizmayer (BMW) +1:18.354
15. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) +1:26.338
16. Aaron Yates (EBR) +1:31.468
RT. Alessandro Andreozzi (Kawasaki)
RT. Imre Toth (BMW)
RT. Geoff May (EBR)
RT. Claudio Corti (MV Agusta)
RT. Davide Giugliano (Ducati)
RT. David Salom (Kawasaki)
NS. Bryan Staring (Kawasaki)
World Superbike Point Standings (Round 10 of 12)
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
11. Alex Lowes 126
12. David Salom 95
13. Niccolo Canepa 54
14. Jeremy Guarnoni 41
15. Leon Camier 37
16. Sylvain Barrier 32
17. Sheridan Morais 24
18. Alessandro Andreozzi 21
19. Luca Scassa 16
20. Fabien Foret 14
21. Claudio Corti 14
22. Bryan Staring 12
23. Kevin Allerton 6
24. Kervin Bos 5
25. Ivan Goi 5
26. Riccardo Russo 5
27. Gabor Rizmayer 3
28. Larry Pegram 2
29. Imre Toth 2
30. Michel Fabrizio 2
31. Romain Lanusse 1
–From the World SBK Press Office