World Superbike

SBK Monza Race One: Melandri Grabs Home Win In Thrilling Finish

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Marco Melandri opened his and BMW’s account for the 2013 season after beating Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty in a thrilling finish to race one at Monza. The trio were covered by just a tenth of a second at the finish line with Melandri making the decisive move at the Parabolica on the last lap of eighteen.

The top three broke away from the rest of the field immediately with Sylvain Guintoli tagging onto them, making a four-man leading group. The championship leader was responsible for the first change of lead when he muscled past his teammate Laverty at the Parabolica on lap eight but as the race entered its closing stages, Sylvain would be dropped into a rather lonely fourth, forcing him to play the role of spectator as the podium places were decided.

Despite starting from pole, Sykes didn’t lead for the first time until lap fifteen when the Yorkshireman hit the front at the Roggia chicane but Laverty would kick start his victory bid halfway around the penultimate lap. Starting it in third, Eugene’s first task was to find a way past Melandri and the Irishman succeeded with a terrific move into Lesmo 1 and before returning the start/finish straight to begin the final lap, Laverty was leading the way as his Aprilia powered him past Sykes.

Melandri was now the man with most work to do and he knew he couldn’t waste any time, slipping past Sykes into turn one. The move didn’t hurt his speed through the Curva Grande either and Laverty would fall victim to the home favourite at the Roggia but BMW may have feared their man had gone too early. Laverty fought back with a pass at Ascari but crucially, Melandri was tucked into the slipstream approaching the Parabolica and used it to perfection, squeezing through for his first win of the season.

Laverty was wrong-footed to such an extent that Sykes sneaked past for second with Aprilia made to settle for third and fourth with Guintoli next up. Chaz Davies rode a solid race to fifth ahead of Michel Fabrizio and Loris Baz while Jonathan Rea wound up a frustrated eighth ahead of Leon Camier after missing the first chicane on lap ten and picking up a two-place penalty from the stewards.

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