WSBK Russia: Tsar Melandri defeats Emperor Biaggi
After Tom Sykes, Marco Melandri won on the brand new Moscow Raceway circuit! The BMW rider takes advantage of a blunder by Max Biaggi in the same second round to take command of the World Superbike 2012.
After Tom Sykes, Marco Melandri won on the brand new Moscow Raceway circuit! The BMW rider takes advantage of a blunder by Max Biaggi in the same second round to take command of the World Superbike 2012. Mamma mia !
Earlier this afternoon, the testing sun had given way to a heavy sky. The first Russian race in the history of the WSBK was launched on a tricky track because it was just dry … But the three strong men of the 2012 championship know how to do it !
Finally, fifth at Silverstone three weeks ago, Kenan Sofuoglu did not miss the first Russian meeting of the World Supersport. The double champion of the discipline wins masterfully in front of our comrade Cluzel and the local Leonov.
First Superbike race
Tom Sykes started very strong and took the lead ahead of Leon Haslam, Eugene Laverty, Carlos Checa, Marco Melandri, Jonathan Rea, Davide Giugliano, Chaz Davies, Max Biaggi and Loris Baz. The trajectory is almost dry but the pilots remain vigilant in the first turns.
At the end of the loop, however, Sykes accelerates and is within a second of everyone. The Kawasaki team formalized last night that the Tom was renewed for 2013 … We understand why !
Laverty doubles Haslam at the very beginning of the 2nd loop. The two Britons in turn moved away from the peloton still led by Carlos and his Ducati n ° 7. In the background, at the gates of the Top 10, Sylvain Guintoli and Loris Baz are fighting just behind Max Biaggi.
In the 3rd lap, the attention is focused on Giugliano: the n ° 34 is unleashed and irresistibly overtakes his opponents! Yet more careful, it is his teammate Carlos who falls! Close to Jonathan Rea under braking, the 2011 champion loses the front and with him, any chance of – good – result…
Tom Sykes continues his work of undermining and gives himself a lead of 3.5 seconds on the 5th lap. Haslam remains focused, which is not the case with Laverty upset by Giugliano! We learn in the same tower the fall of Guintoli, and the loss of about six places of Baz.
At the front, Haslam pushed a little too much and made a short excursion: the BMW driver n ° 91 found himself in fifth place behind Giugliano, Rea, Laverty and Sykes, still alone in the lead. Haslam has no time to breathe: he is dispossessed of the fifth position by Chaz Davies.
Marco Melandri and Max Biaggi are respectively 7th and 8th, but are not in contact with the chase group. The two championship leaders are quite timid on the drying track which only allows moderately deviations from the trajectory..
From the 9th lap, Leon Camier is taken for a ride by his little comrades! The n ° 2 clings to the handlebars of his GSX-R1000 hoping to score a point. But for this he must also rely on the mistakes of his rivals…
While Tom Sykes seems to maintain his lead at around four seconds, Giugliano has to whip his Ducati to keep it in the middle of the top 4-cylinder. The fastest on the track is now Melandri: the Hedgehog of Ravenna is 1.5 seconds behind Haslam who is at the back of the peloton.
Biaggi him, is three seconds behind his enemy n ° 33 but does not seem able to recover. Two other Italians, Canepa on Ducati and Fabrizio on BMW, complete the Top 10 more than 20 seconds behind the leader.
Jonathan Rea made a mistake on the 11th lap by losing the front in a quick left. Fortunately, the Honda rider came out unscathed. He will therefore be able to participate in the second Superbike race … and in the MotoGP one (s) within the HRC team while waiting for Stoner’s return. !
Halfway through the race, Sykes ‘Ninja’s lead over Laverty and Davies’ two RSV4s dropped by a small second. Haslam passed in front of Giugliano who gradually let go of BMW n ° 91 and saw n ° 33 fall on him. As frightened by Marco, Checa’s teammate also finishes with all four irons in the air !
With the falls of Rea and Giugliano, Zanetti then Hopkins reach the Top 10. Melandri climbs in fifth place but aims at least the second place which Laverty, Davies and Haslam are contending for for the moment. Sykes is still ahead, just over three seconds away.
Ten laps from the checkered flag, Melandri began to take advantage of his teammate’s aspiration. The Italian definitely joins the British group! Behind Marco, no less than four Italians: Biaggi, Canepa, Fabrizio and Zanetti.
Davies unleashes an attack on Laverty who must move away slightly. Nothing more was needed to allow the two BMWs to pass in front of the official Aprilia! The group is slightly dispersed and loses a few tenths of a second on the leading man.
Seven laps to go, Haslam loses the lead trying to get Davies inside in a double right! The Englishman pushes the Welshman off the track and offers his teammate Melandri second place on a plateau! Laverty inherits third place, Davies returns to the track in fourth place and Biaggi enters the Top 5.
Melandri remains with her head buried behind her bubble. He tries to nibble on Sykes’ advance … and gets there! In the next lap, however, Sykes reacted and raised the tone convincingly: the English Ninja had more than 4.5 seconds ahead with four laps to go..
On the other hand, the fight resumes between Davies and Laverty: Eugene occupies the third step of the podium but Chaz Davies has three laps to delight him! Biaggi is still fifth, four seconds behind the two Aprilias placed in front of him.
Davies did not take long to surprise Laverty: the n ° 19 planted a superb braking at the top of a small hill. The private RSV4 moves away very quickly from the official n ° 58 … but ends up falling! The Welshman got carried away and mixed up the pedals by entering gears on the outskirts of a turn. Chaz gets out of the traj ‘, then out of the track and out of the race !
Laverty therefore recovers his third place, but must still be wary of Biaggi who rolls only a few lengths! In the last lap, Max – whose extreme caution paid off! – decides to shake his Aprilia in order to give as few points as possible to Melandri.
Tom Sykes wins the first World Superbike race in Russia with a comfortable lead over Marco Melandri who crosses the finish line on the rear wheel. A handful of seconds later, Aprilia n ° 3 tumbles just in front of n ° 58: Biaggi thus pockets 3 additional points !
The three strong men of the championship find themselves on the podium. Let it be said: the final sprint to the 2012 world title has been launched !
The sun now floods the circuit, so that the red lights fall asleep when the beasts are released! Impatient, Sam Lowes leaves like a cannonball in front of Jules Cluzel, Kenan Sofuoglu, Broc Parkes, Vladimir Leonov, Fabien Foret, Sheridan Morais, Gabor Talmacsi, Romain Lanusse and Alex Antonelli !
Sofuoglu applied the brakes to the two Honda’s on the home stretch of the first lap but missed the rope by a few centimeters and had to let Lowes pass under acceleration and then Cluzel in the pit straight. The tone for the start of the race is set! Predictably: Sam Lowes gets pitfall after early start.
The double world champion reproduces his attack at the end of the 2nd round but returns behind Lowes in the following straight line. Sofuoglu forced the passage on Lowes who lost four places. The Kawa ‘n ° 54 is therefore in the lead ahead of the Honda n ° 16 of Jules and the Yamaha n ° 65 of Vladimir..
Broc Parkes and Fabien Foret complete the Top 5 while Sam enters the pits to come out in 15th place just behind Valentin Debise (14th) and three seconds behind Romain Lanusse (10th).
From the 4th lap, Sofuoglu and Cluzel gain the upper hand over their pursuers. They lost company to the peloton made up of Russian Leonov, Australian Parkes and French Foret. A second behind this trio are Morais, the former GP125 champion Talmacsi, and Antonelli.
Romain Lanusse fell while there were still 13 laps to go. Jules Cluzel himself, applies considerable pressure on the shoulders of Kenan Sofuoglu! The CBR Parkalgar does not leave the official ZX-6R by a rim while the Russian R6 in third position is more than four seconds behind.
Fabien Foret, specialist in spectacular end-of-race races, could not keep pace … At halfway, the n ° 99 was overtaken by Sheridan Morais. The Kawa ‘n ° 32 then passed in front of the Honda n ° 23 of Parkes and secured a nice fourth place.
More than eight seconds ahead, the duel continues between Kenan and Jules! The Frenchie hangs on until six laps from the end where the Turk raises the tone. Half a second, then a whole … Ninja n ° 54 slips between the gloves of our compatriot and does not take long to isolate himself in the lead.
Cluzel finds himself alone in 2nd place, nine seconds ahead of the future local hero: Vladimir Leonov! The Muscovite manages to keep himself out of reach of Sheridan Morais who has not been sparing his Kawasaki since the start of the race !
In fifth position, more than 20 seconds behind the leader – the race and the championship! -, runs Broc Parkes. The pilot Ten Kate has a two-second lead over our second French representative Foret. The third is Fabien’s former teammate: Florian Mario occupies 14th place riding his "Indian" Kawasaki..
The last laps are unfortunately not exciting, at least as regards the Top 5 decided for a while now. Even within the Top 10 the action is not really there: the Russian layout limits the possibilities of overtaking a little too much in its long winding section and the gaps are inexorably widening in the straights….
It was not until the last lap to see Talmacsi worrying Antonelli (7th) again and, a little further, Tamburini defending his 9th place against Scholtz and Baldolini. Sam Lowes for his part saves the furniture by taking 12th place from Quarmby in the last moments !
Kenan Sofuoglu therefore won his third victory of the year ahead of Jules Cluzel, author of his fifth podium this season, which happens to be his first in the World Supersport! The Turk brings his championship lead to 33 points over the Frenchman and 35 over the Englishman Lowes.
Second Superbike race
As in the first round, Tom Sykes quickly took control of the race and quite easily ahead of Eugene Laverty, Leon Haslam, Marco Melandri, Jonathan Rea, Davide Giugliano, Carlos Checa, Max Biaggi, Loris Baz and Sylvain Guintoli.
From the second lap, however, the RSV4 n ° 58 matched the ZX-10R n ° 66! Haslam and Melandri are a little less aggressive at the very beginning of the course while Giugliano manages to post his 1198 n ° 34 in front of the Honda n ° 65 after having battled hard against the last two world champions of the discipline. !
Biaggi takes the best of Checa in this second loop and sounds the charge: the enemy is a few lengths from Max’s Aprilia and is called Rea. This one must bow to the firepower of the Pirate of Rome who, in the momentum, dispossesses Giugliano of his beautiful 5th place..
On the 4th lap, Sykes therefore leads ahead of Laverty, Melandri, Haslam, Biaggi, Giugliano, Rea, Checa, Baz and Davies. Marco brakes Eugene but the Irishman finds a breach in the double right and recovers his second place! Leon Haslam takes advantage of Melandri‘s confusion to climb in front of him.
The other beneficiary of this superb fight is Tom Sykes, who takes advantage of a second ahead of the four angry behind him: Eugene, Leon, Marco and Max! The Roman Emperor is much more incisive on the completely dry track of this second round and manages to overtake Rea, past Giugliano.
Melandri gains a place in the 8th loop but the Italian remains desperately blocked behind Laverty in the long winding section and has to wait for the straight line to mercilessly dislodge Aprilia. "Youdjin" resists braking, passes in front of the BMW but misses the rope and comes out of the last corner sandwiched by the two official BMWs !
Behind, Max Biaggi misses in the same last corner. The leader of the 2012 championship is overwhelmed by Jonathan Rea and then threatened by Carlos Checa. His teammate Davide Giuglano dropped back to 8th place but remains in contact.
At 15 laps from the end, Max Biaggi had to bypass Rea in the straight line from the left and delay his braking as much as possible. The Aprilia rider must plunge his bike back to the right to get back on the right line, but drifts on Leon Haslam‘s BMW and ends up hitting it head-on !
Max and Leon are on the ground … The Italian gets up and goes to apologize to the Englishman who takes longer to get up. On the track, the race continues: Sykes is joined by Melandri, Rea gets rid of Laverty who feels the two Ducati Althea de Checa and Giugliano coming back on him, accompanied by Aprilia de Davies. The other Leon – Camier – occupies eighth place, two seconds ahead of Badovini, Baz, Guintoli and Zanetti.
Marco Melandri does not leave the rear wheel of the Ninja No.66. It was 11 laps before the end of the race that the Hedgehog took advantage of the aspiration to pass Sykes in the long straight before the finish line. Tom tries to respond to the next brake but can do nothing against Marco.
Jonathan Rea is only a few lengths behind Tom Sykes, while Eugene Laverty applies to avoid the return of Chaz Davies and Carlos Checa … Davide Giugliano is dropped: he is two seconds behind his teammate.
Straight ahead, Melandri continues to attack and builds up a half-second lead. The Ninja n ° 66 tries to hang on to the famous n ° 33, just like the n ° 65 of the official Honda team..
As in the first round, Davies suffered from a small problem with the gearbox which made him lose a handful of seconds as well as fifth place. But the rookie quickly plunges into the heat of the moment and gets into the wheel of the reigning world champion.
With 6 laps to go, Rea is showing more and more pressure on Sykes in the twisty sections of the Moscow circuit. In the straights unfortunately, his Fireblade does not allow him to climb in front of the Ninja … nor to keep the RSV4 n ° 58 at a distance. !
Behind the Italian and the three Britons, Carlos Checa is doing his best: at the controls of his Ducati – less powerful and heavier than 6 kilograms, but more torque and better out of a curve than the 4-cylinder – the Toro retains chances of podiums…
Indeed, in the 23rd lap, the tone rises between Sykes, Laverty and Rea! The attacks carried by Eugene and Johnny destabilize Tom and ultimately benefit Carlos! The fight continues in the penultimate loop and allows Checa to keep in touch.
The last lap is incredible: Laverty and Rea pass each other on several occasions on a route known to be very difficult for this exercise! But the two comrades are dangerously close to the limits. So much so that at the exit of a left, the rear Pirelli of the Aprilia gives up arms and ejects Laverty who takes Rea with him !
Carlos Checa has no other way out than to bite into the grass, bypass the two machines and resume the track almost in slow motion … The Spaniard sees Chaz Davies pass in front of him, who climbs on his second podium of the year !
The Supersport world champion finished less than five seconds behind the inseparable duo Melandri and Sykes. The Italian celebrates at length his sixth victory of the season, which could become his as the BMW driver takes the lead in the provisional !
Marco‘s counter now totals 308.5 points, compared to 290 for Max’s and 267.5 for Tom’s. Fourth in the second Russian round, King Checa is now 75 points behind Tsar Melandri. Although there are still 150 points to collect, the double 2011-2012 goes away for Carlos.
Victim of two falls this weekend – he still finished 7th this afternoon – Jonathan Rea can also give up the world title this year. This will therefore be played between the three men present on the first Russian podium in the history of the WSBK: Melandri, Sykes or Biaggi ?
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