“We got off on the right foot all the work from the past few days has paid off” – Eugene Laverty
In the unique scenery of Phillip Island the first round of 2013 eni FIM Superbike World Championship proved to be a success, while the Victorian Government announced the GP Circuit will host the FIM Superbike World Championship for a further three years, from 2015 to 2017.
Close racing and high-level competition entertained the 61.500 spectators over the 3 days and provided a remarkable show to the fans all over the world. Aprilia Racing Team riders Sylvain Guintoli (Race 1) and Eugene Laverty (Race 2) got one win each in Sunday World Superbike races, both finishing in 2nd place when not on top.
Aprilia gets 1-2-3 at Phillip Island World Superbike Race 1. It’s the second time that the manufacturer from Noale monopolise the podium (first one was at Nurburgring last year) with works rider Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) taking his 4th win of the career in his first race onboard the RSV4, ahead of team mate Eugene Laverty.
The race started with Eugene Laverty moving off well from second position, trying to run away from his opponents. The Irishman was able to keep the gap between himself and the rest of the field until he was caught up by Guintoli, who overtook Laverty on lap 15 and led the race until the chequered flag.
Sylvain Guintoli: “It’s great to start off with a win! Quite honestly, after the tests I know I could do well and from the start my intention was to give it my all. My goal has always been to win, but sometimes you have to adapt to conditions. In the first race I didn’t get off to a good start and I lost a few positions, but lap by lap I found the right pace to move forward. Eugene had gotten away well and when I overtook him I managed to keep the distance and take this important win. In Race 2 Eugene had a bit more than me in the last laps. He employed a strategy similar to the one I used in the first race, but this is a fantastic result for the team even if we are just at the beginning of the championship”.
Later in the race Laverty had to deal with a confident Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), who closed the gap and had a shot at 2nd place. Laverty waited until the last lap to make the perfect move on the Italian at ‘Lukey Heights’. Right outside of top-3 is Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team) who battled hard with fellow Englishman Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) up to the finish line, to end up ahead of his rival for just 0.051 seconds, with team mate Loris Baz to follow.
After a competitive first part of the race, Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) struggled a bit to keep the pace and eventually finished 7th ahead of team mate Jonathan Rea. Two potential contenders for the podium positions got out of the race during lap 13, as Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare), accidentally hit Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team) from behind after outbraking himself, while entering Turn 4.
Results race 1: 1. Guintoli (Aprilia) 22 laps/97.790 km in 33’47.109 average 173.668 kph; 2. Laverty (Aprilia) 1.352; 3. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1.359; 4. Davies (BMW) 5.702; 5. Sykes (Kawasaki) 5.753; 6. Baz (Kawasaki) 6.769; 7. Haslam (Honda) 6.830; 8. Rea (Honda) 17.944; 9. Camier (Suzuki) 19.152; 10. Neukirchner (Ducati) 26.557; 11. Cluzel (Suzuki) 30.305; 12. Clementi (BMW) 30.411; 13. Lundh (Kawasaki) 45.185; 14. Allerton (BMW) 48.632; 15. Stauffer (Honda) 53.453; etc.
A formidable last part of the race allowed Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) to get the better of team mate Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team) to win race 2 at Phillip Island. Thanks to this successful effort in the first Round, Laverty is now the eni FIM Superbike World Championship leader, tied up in points with Race 1 winner Guintoli.
The 26 year old from Toomebridge, Northern Ireland, started his final charge on the lead on lap 20 by overtaking Melandri at Turn 4 and setting an incredible 1’31.168 (new lap record). Laverty then got past Guintoli on the straight and held onto 1st place up to the chequered flag.
Eugene Laverty: “We got off on the right foot all the work from the past few days has paid off. My Aprilia was fast and it performed as I wanted it to from the 1st to the last lap. In Race 1 I may have been a bit too conservative with the tyres, still taking a nice second place, but in Race 2 I pushed a bit more decisively. At the end when it was Sylvain, Melandri and me, I tried and was able to get away, shaving a few more tenths off my pace. The track record two laps from the finish was nice confirmation that we turned up to the races in the best possible conditions. 45 points after the first race are some nice spoils.”
Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), after a long catch up with the front runners, made a small mistake and ran wide during the last lap, in a desperate attempt to overtake fellow Italian Melandri for 3rd position.Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), far from the ideal fitness condition, finished 5th ahead of Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia), Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike).
Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) did not take part to Race 2 to undergo some medical checks at Melbourne, following the nasty-looking crash of the previous race.
Results race 2: 1. Laverty (Aprilia) 22 laps/97.790 km in 33’45.938 average 173.768 kph; 2. Guintoli (Aprilia) 0.418; 3. Melandri (BMW) 1.382; 4. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 2.282; 5. Sykes (Kawasaki) 11.545; 6. Giugliano (Aprilia) 12.508; 7. Cluzel (Suzuki) 17.330; 8. Rea (Honda) 17.339; 9. Camier (Suzuki) 19.886; 10. Haslam (Honda) 19.996; 11. Neukirchner (Ducati) 27.629; 12. Allerton (BMW) 42.809; 13. Stauffer (Honda) 42.893; 14. Sandi (Kawasaki) 44.899; 15. Lundh (Kawasaki) 57.824; etc.
Standings: 1. Laverty 45; 2. Guintoli 45; 3. Fabrizio 29; 4. Sykes 22; 5. Melandri 16; 6. Rea 16; 7. Haslam 15; 8. Cluzel 14; 9. Camier 14; 10. Davies 13; 11. Neukirchner 11; 12. Giugliano 10; 13. Baz 10; 14. Allerton 6; 15. Clementi 4; 16. Stauffer 4; 17. Lundh 4; 18. Sandi 2. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 50; 2. BMW 29; 3. Kawasaki 22; 4. Honda 17; 5. Suzuki 16; 6. Ducati 11.
World Supersport – Kenan Sofouglu forces his way to victory
Kenan Sofuoglu wins the 32nd race of his career in World Supersport Race at Phillip Island by getting the nod over pole man Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha), after a thrilling battle that went on throughout the entire race. The defending and three-time World Supersport Champion gave Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki the first win in the series and set the new lap record in 1’33.283. Lowes, on the other hand, did his best to stay close to the Turkish rider to eventually finish with a solid second place.
Rookie Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) ended up 3rd in his debut race in World Supersport. The Reigning European Superstock 600 Champion managed to stay with the two riders up front during the first part of the race, slowing down a bit later on and finishing with 6.771 seconds from Sofuoglu.
Second Mahi Racing Team India rider Fabien Foret finished 4th ahead of Intermoto Ponyexpres duo of David Salom and Luca Scassa, with Andrea Antonelli (Team Goeleven Kawasaki) to follow. The 2002 World Supersport Champion got a terrible start from the 3rd spot on the grid, crossing the line at the end of lap 1 in 14th position. An unlucky Roberto Rolfo (ParkinGO MV Agusta Corse) was forced to withdraw from the race in the very last part, while battling for 4th position. A big crash on the exit of Turn 12 at the end of lap 3 involved Russian Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) and Raffaele De Rosa (Team Lorini Honda).
Results: 1. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 15 Laps/66.675 km in 23’32.480 average 169.935 kph; 2. Lowes (Yamaha) 1.899; 3. Vd Mark (Honda) 6.771; 4. Foret (Kawasaki) 11.095; 5. Salom (Kawasaki) 12.076; 6. Scassa (Kawasaki) 12.943; 7. Antonelli (Kawasaki) 23.968; 8. Zanetti (Honda) 24.536; 9. Roccoli (Yamaha) 24.782; 10. Kennedy (Honda) 24.809; 11. Ivanov (Kawasaki) 32.825; 12. Marconi (Honda) 33.028; 13. Tamburini (Suzuki) 33.055; 14. Scholtz (Suzuki) 34.067; 15. Baldolini (Honda) 34.993; etc.
Riders Championship: 1. Sofuoglu 25; 2. Lowes 20; 3. Vd Mark 16; 4. Foret 13; 5. Salom 11; 6. Scassa 10; 7. Antonelli 9; 8. Zanetti 8; 9. Roccoli 7; 10. Kennedy 6; 11. Ivanov 5; 12. Marconi 4; 13. Tamburini 3; 14. Scholtz 2; 15. Baldolini 1. Manufacturers Championship: 1. Kawasaki 25; 2. Yamaha 20; 3. Honda 16; 4. Suzuki 3.