SBK Sepang Race One: Melandri Wins As Kawasakis Clash


Marco Melandri finally clinched his first victory for Aprilia in race one at Sepang but the headlines were dominated by a dramatic collision at the second corner between Kawasaki teammates Loris Baz and Tom Sykes. The Italian steered clear of the chaos to lead home a factory Aprilia 1-2 ahead of Sylvain Guintoli.

Baz's attempt to pass his teammate had catastrophic results (Photo Credit: WorldSBK.com)
Baz’s attempt to pass his teammate had catastrophic results (Photo Credit: WorldSBK.com)

Guintoli was also out of danger when mayhem ensued at the start having converted pole position into the lead at turn one. Toni Elias followed him through in second but with third place up for grabs, Baz dived up the inside of Sykes as they approached turn two. Unfortunately for himself and Kawasaki in particular, Loris had let ambition get the better of him and wiped out his teammate, skittling Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea in the same incident. Rea was able to continue after a detour through the grass but Lowes was out on the spot and apparently injured while the feuding Kawasaki colleagues were also eliminated.

The fracas at the start exploded the leading pack with the factory Aprilias comfortably clear at the front to dispute the victory among themselves. Melandri was content to follow but on lap ten, a slight mistake from Guintoli opened the door at turn fifteen and the Italian was more than happy to ride through it. With no answer for his teammate, Guintoli banked the twenty points for second to haul himself back into championship contention.

Eugene Laverty did at least bring some cheer to the Crescent Suzuki squad by storming through to third, passing Chaz Davies five laps from home. Davies would steal fourth from Toni Elias at the final corner while Jonathan Rea produced a fine recovery ride to take sixth despite falling to the tail of the field on lap one. Leon Haslam trailed his teammate home in seventh although he did at least get the better of Davide Giugliano who was unable to repeat his Superpole form, toiling to eighth.