SBK Magny Cours Race One: Guintoli Wins As Team Orders Dominate

Sylvain Guintoli closed to within nineteen points of championship leader after a slightly controversial victory in race one at Magny Cours. Guintoli was handed the win by teammate Marco Melandri following instructions from Aprilia while team orders from the Kawasaki pitwall allowed Tom Sykes to take fourth from Loris Baz.

Persistent rain made conditions treacherous for the riders, particularly those with a championship to fight for and polesitter Tom Sykes was understandably cautious early on. Jonathan Rea was taking a much bolder approach and led around the opening lap but he was soon shuffled back to third by the factory Aprilias.

The intrigue surrounding the teammates started on lap fourteen with Melandri taking the lead from Guintoli, prompting an unusual pit board from his mechanics, displaying their unhappiness with the current order of their bikes. The ‘frowning face’ graphic was accompanied by an apparent instruction to drop a place and with three laps to go, Marco complied. Thus, Guintoli took a much-needed victory from Melandri and Rea.

The situation at Kawasaki was abundantly clear with a handful of laps remaining with the team displaying a clear instruction to Loris Baz to let Sykes past. The Frenchman followed the instruction but to ensure he made his point, waited until the final chicane mere metres from the finish line to give his teammate fourth spot.

Leon Haslam took a solid sixth for PATA Honda with Davide Giugliano recovering from a crash to finish seventh. 3C Racing duo Lorenzo Lanzi and Max Neukirchner were eighth and ninth respectively with Sylvain Barrier winning the EVO battle in tenth.