World Superbike

SBK Miller Race Two: BMW Power Gives Melandri Victory

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Marco Melandri - Photo Credit: OctanePhotos.co.uk

Marco Melandri - Photo Credit: OctanePhotos.co.uk

 

Marco Melandri outdragged Jonathan Rea on the final lap to take victory in the second World Superbike race of the day which finished two hours after it had initially started. Hiroshi Aoyama crashed his Honda on lap four, spilling fluid at the 'Attitude' corners, and racing was halted for over an hour while the circuit was cleaned up. When the action finally resumed, the spectators in Salt Lake City were treated to a thriller.

At first, a repeat of the earlier race looked likely as Carlos Checa stormed into an early lead. The Spaniard was serene at the front but threw away an almost-certain victory with a mistake at the Black Rock hairpin on lap six, throwing the race wide open with several riders running nose-to-tail behind.

Melandri inherited the lead but the man immediately behind him would have been a major surprise to the Italian. Chaz Davies, after a sensational start on the ParkinGO Aprilia, was hot on his heels in second with Tom Sykes, Jonathan Rea and Max Biaggi also in the leading group. As in the opening race, Sykes couldn't keep up with the leaders and fell back to fifth, leaving the top four to dispute the victory.

Rea moved ahead of Davies on lap seven and with Melandri's pace dropping slightly, the Ulsterman hit the front with a textbook overtaking move at turn three. Despite being in elevated company, Davies was far from overawed and dived through into second two corners later as a maiden SBK podium began to loom on the horizon.

With Rea extending his lead to over a second, Melandri was forced to go back on the offensive and retook second at the start of lap 13, his BMW leaving Davies' Aprilia for dead on the start/finish straight. Marco had six laps in which to reel in Rea and steadily chipped away at the Honda's advantage.

As the final lap got underway, he was right on Rea's tail and the BMW S1000RR breezed past the Honda Fireblade so comprehensively that Melandri didn't even have to worry about outbraking his rival. In the tight, twisty infield, Rea swarmed all over the back of Melandri but as soon as they re-entered the home straight, he had no answer and BMW were able to celebrate a second SBK victory.

Sadly for British fans, Chaz Davies missed out on the podium after Biaggi slipstreamed past the Welshman three laps from the finish. Davies still took a career-best fourth ahead of Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty who finished a quarter of a second apart in fifth and sixth.

Davide Giugliano finished seventh on the sole remaining Althea Ducati after holding off Leon Haslam while Jakub Smrz and Sylvain Guintoli completed the top ten for the Effenbert Liberty squad. Leon Camier salvaged points for Crescent Fixi Suzuki in eleventh but John Hopkins couldn't do likewise after coming home in sixteenth.

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