Aprilia’s Marco Melandri was given orders by his team to let his garage partner Sylvain Guintoli take both of the victories in the World Superbike double-header at a very wet Magny-Cours. In the opening race he listened and let the Frenchman take maximum points, but in the final race he ignored the protests to let Guintoli pass and powered on to take the victory.
The diminutive Italian felt he could not award the double to Guintoli ‘out of respect for his sponsors’ and felt he needed to take the win so he could move up to third in the overall championship standings. The gap between Guintoli and his title challenger, Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes has closed to only 12 points, so team orders did work in in some respect in the Aprilia garage today.
“It was a good race for me, but if I had let him go past to have the double win then I would not be showing enough respect to my personal sponsors. I am now up to third in the overall championship standings and I have had a good weekend here, and my speed has been really good too, and if I had that pace all year I could have won the championship,” said Melandri at the track.
Guintoli did not appear angry with Melandri’s deliberate blanking of team orders and both rider shook hands afterwards. All the England-based rider cares about is that the gap has closed between himself and Sykes at the top of the table.
“It has been a good weekend for us, and we are back in the title race. My main focus is now on the next round and I can’t wait – I want it to be tomorrow. Fair play to Marco he rode really well today – and everything has been really positive,” said Guintoli at his home circuit.
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