Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli went some way towards atoning for the disaster of Portimao by clinching a 1-2 for Aprilia in race one at Laguna Seca. The teammates took advantage of an early slip by polesitter Tom Sykes before easing clear to complete a comfortable victory.
Everything looked to be running smoothly for Sykes after reaching the first corner first on the opening lap but his supremacy only lasted as far as the Corkscrew when the Yorkshireman outbraked himself. Fortunately, Tom only ran slightly wide and kept his Kawasaki upright but the fast starting Melandri had motored past before he touched down on the tarmac again with Guintoli relegating him to third.
Melandri wasn’t troubled thereafter and cruised to his third victory of the season with the Italian admitting he had to make the most of the opportunity presented on lap one.
“My start was great even if I was a bit nervous in the first laps since Tom usually tries to pull the pin straight away. When he made that mistake at the Corkscrew I thought that was the right opportunity to push it to the limit. I set my pace, staying focused and not making any mistakes. Only in the last few laps was I finally able to breathe a little easier since I had gained a bit of an advantage over Sylvain. This was a great race. The RSV4 worked wonderfully and the team did an impeccable job”.
Sykes fell six seconds back but comfortably took third ahead of Davide Giugliano who resisted a late challenge from Toni Elias to take fourth. Jonathan Rea recovered from an excursion through the turn three gravel trap to finish sixth ahead of PATA Honda teammate Leon Haslam but Chaz Davies didn’t survive a spill, suffering a crash which injured him severely enough to rule him out of race two.