World Superbike

SBK Jerez Race One: Melandri Shines As Sykes Struggles

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Marco Melandri chased down his teammate Sylvain Guintoli to win the opening race of the day at Jerez while championship leader Tom Sykes endured a terrible start to his Sunday in Spain. The reigning champion wasn’t a factor at the front of the race at any stage, leaving the two factory Aprilias to dispute the victory in the closing laps.

Sykes’ problems began very early on with the Kawasaki rider almost tagging his teammate Loris Baz off the start line before slipping as low as eighth in the early stages. Baz meanwhile was much more comfortable with his ZX-10R and dived past Guintoli at the final corner of lap four to snatch the lead.

While Guintoli was busy regaining the lead at the Dry Sac hairpin, Sykes was finding overtaking much more difficult at the end of the back straight, outbraking himself in an attempt to take sixth from Jonathan Rea, but drama up ahead of him would soon ease his pain slightly. Fourth placed Davide Giugliano was the first to hit problems, skating off at turn one, before Loris Baz’s race also came to an early end, the Frenchman losing the front end at the Dry Sac whilst scrapping over second with Melandri.

Sykes was now fifth and his progress would end there but Melandri still had work to do. With four laps to go, the Italian was right on terms with his teammate and despite Guintoli being Aprilia’s only realistic hope for the title, Marco breezed past to claim his fourth win of the season. Guintoli had to make do with second while Chaz Davies gave Ducati some cheer following the demise of Giugliano by claiming the last spot on the podium.

Jonathan Rea held off Tom Sykes for fourth with Eugene Laverty beating Leon Haslam and Toni Elias to sixth for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki. The race had started so well for the Irishman’s teammate Alex Lowes, the reigning BSB champion climbing to second on lap one, but a spill at turn one ultimately caused his retirement.

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