GoldBet BMW’s Marco Melandri took a narrow World Superbike race one victory at Monza this morning. The Italian managed to just edge ahead of Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes and Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty on the final Parabolica turn and all three riders were neck and neck going over the line, covered by one tenth of a second.
Throughout the eighteen lap race there were realistically only four bikes which were in contention for a race win. Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli pushed his way to the front on numerous occasions, but could not manage to hold on and saw team-mate Laverty overtake him, joined by Sykes and Melandri and the quartet broke away from the rest of the grid.
Laverty was leading from the first lap, from the first chicane and remained at the front until he was overtaken by Sykes on lap ten. The Irishman fell off the pace slightly meaning Melandri was able to make his move. Throughout the rest of the race the lead was constantly changing with all four riders. But during lap six, Sykes broke the lap record with a time of 1’42.229.
With three laps to go Sykes appeared to make a break for the lead, but on the penultimate lap Laverty made his move for the front, and firstly overtook Melandri at Lesmo 1 to go second and for a brief moment went to first. But all the action occurred on the final lap, Guintoli dropped back from the other three riders, leaving Sykes, Laverty and Melandri to fight for first. Laverty led going over the straight for the final time, but the Italian went ahead at Parabolica, and it was that final move that pushed him to a very tight eleventh World Superbike win, at his home circuit, leaving Sykes and Laverty having to settle for second and third place respectively.
Melandri’s GoldBet BMW team-mate Chaz Davies ended up having a very lonely race, as he crossed the line in fifth, seven seconds behind the leading pack of bikes. The Welshman started from ninth, and early on found himself battling with Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano on lap three, but Davies them found him battling with Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea, with both Brits fighting for fifth.
Giugliano went wide on lap nine, but Rea quickly followed suit, as he went off the track at Variante del Rettifilio, and even though he rejoined, he found himself under investigation. Rea was penalised and had to move back two places. This left Davies on his own out on track and he was too fast for sixth-placed Red Devils Roma’s Michel Fabrizio to reel in.
Rea had to watch Kawasaki’s Loris Baz and Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier go ahead, but the Isle of Man resident was not going to sit back for long, and on the last lap overtook fellow Brit Camier to cross the finishing line in eighth, pushing Camier back to ninth, with Giugliano rounding off the top ten. Camier’s French team-mate Jules Cluzel had a ride through which pushed him right down to last place, and even though there were no crashes, Grillini Dentalmatic rider Vittorio Iannuzzo retired to the pits on lap nine with a technical problem.