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Imola WSBK: Sykes does double for championship lead

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes dominated once again at Imola to take his second World Superbike win of the day and he did it in spectacular style. The Brit crossed the finishing line five seconds ahead of second place finisher, Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea while Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli had a comfortable ride to place himself on the third step of the podium.

Sykes led from the start and with eight laps to go it turned out to be a lonely race for the Englishman, who now overtakes Guintoli to go to the top of the championship standings. It was also a solid race for Rea, who unlike his first outing was able to stay on his machine to take second. He was never in contention of clinching the top spot from Sykes, as he was unable to close down the five second gap. But the Isle of Man resident did extend his lead from Guintoli and ended the race five seconds ahead of the English-based Frenchman.

There were several ‘mini-battles’ out on the Italian circuit, most notably between GoldBet BMW team-mates Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies. In the early stages of the race the Italian had a two second advantage over the tall Welshman, but on the penultimate lap Davies was in a position to challenge for fourth.


On the final lap the Brit got the better of his diminutive team-mate, but moments after Melandri overtook Davies at Piratella, and on the final chicane Davies attempted to challenge again, but a mistake coming out of Rivazza 2 meant that Melandri was able to take fourth by five tenths of a second.

Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier had to put up with charges from Kawasaki’s Loris Baz for sixth. First the Kent man was out pacing the young French lad, but at Rivazza 1 Baz took the lead on lap thirteen. Camier was not giving up and made a move at Variante Bassa three laps later, but it was not enough as the Kawasaki crossed the line in sixth.

There was a three way battle for ninth, that latest throughout the whole race, with Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam sandwiched in the middle of Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel and Ducati Alstare’s Ayrton Badovini. But the crocked Smalley rider did out pace them to clinch ninth on the last lap, followed by Badovini and Cluzel.

Not every rider made it to the end of the race, Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano crashed out at the Tosa hairpin while in second on only the third lap, ending the Italian’s chances of claiming a second podium finish at his home circuit. Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty fell coming out of Rivazza 2 three laps later, while in third place, putting a dampener on his race weekend.

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