Marco Melandri’s victory and second place at Monza gave the Italian just the right confidence boost to get back into the World Superbike championship fray even if he’s fourth in the standings and 41 points from standings leader Sylvain Guintoli.
The BMW Goldbet rider seemed to find a good set-up at the high speed Italian circuit and more importantly a good feeling with his BMW after so many races with chatter issues that hampered his riding.
“We head to Donington in a better position than last year, even if we did not have a perfect start to the season. In Monza I found the right feeling with the RR. Now I can ride it in the best way and be competitive,” said Melandri. “I’m looking forward to Donington and I feel really confident. Now I want to fight for the podium at every race and, when it’s possible, I want to win.”
Melandri who lives or used to live in Derby since 2001, loves the British circuit where he took his first Superbike win in 2011 and gave BMW their first ever Superbike victory.
“I really love Donington. Here I got my first Superbike win with Yamaha in 2011 and the first victory in the history of BMW in the series last year. This is a technical track, quite different from Monza. In Donington you never shift to sixth gear while in Monza you use it three times. The two chicanes in the last part of the Donington circuit seem to be there to keep the field close together. The race will be very open and hard-fought, and if it does not rain, it will be very exciting.”
Marco Melandri is back in the title run for the 2013 World Superbike championship after taking a victory and a second place in today’s double header at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
The Italian rider had a slow beginning at the the season which wasn’t helped by lingering shoulder issues that required surgery, and some confidence issues with his BMW S1000RR, but scoring his first victory of the season and in his home race has given the BMW Goldbet rider a big boost as he is now fourth in the standings.
Melandri said, “It was an unbelievable day for me. To finish first and second here in Monza is just awesome and it feels great after we had a difficult start to the season. Race one was unbelievable. I knew that my race pace was quite good, even if we struggled a bit in qualifying. When we started, I knew that it would be very tough until the last corner. When Eugene passed me on the last lap, I thought it would be impossible to pass him back again, because he was very good in the turns and he was pulling away. But in the last corner I was quite close, I knew that I could go a little bit faster than the others and so I overtook him and, even though I was a little bit wide, I kept full throttle until the finish line. Until the chequered flag, I was talking to my RR, telling her ‘go, go, go’ - that was incredible.
Only in World Superbikes can you find a three way battle on the final lap without knowing who will take the victory.
Today’s race 1 at Monza, offered an incredbile and superb example of very tight exciting motorcycle race that saw Marco Melandri take his first victory of the 2013 season in a last lap, in a neck to neck to the wire battle with Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty.
The BMW Goldbet rider won with a just a 0.085s margin over the Kawasaki rider and just a tenth of a second from the Aprilia rider.
Tom Sykes was the polesitter but Eugene Laverty got a better drive into the first variante with Jonathan Rea, Sykes, Melandri and Guintoli chasing after him, but in lap 2 Rea hit a neutral and lost four spots falling from second to six in just one swoop, and his podium chances were already finished.
The final free practice at Monza finally saw a completely dry track which allowed the riders to work on setup after all the previous sessions that were either wet or very damp.
With a dry track Eugene Laverty was the fastest rider with a best lap in 1.42.375 that he did half way through the 45 minute session, but he wasn’t able to improve in the finale.
Marco Melandri was second fastest and just a little less than two seconds adrift and followed by Tom Sykes, Sylvain Guintoli, who was literally the fastest with a top speed of 337 km/h, and Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier, in a very tight session, with the first five riders separated by a little more than three tenths of a second.
Sixth fastest was Kawasaki’s Loris Baz who was unable to break the 1.43 barrier and tailed by Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies who posted the same identical lap time.
After being no lower than second in all three previous sessions Jonathan Rea dropped to ninth but the Honda rider did suffer a lowside at turn 1 when he hit the kerb just minutes after his team mate Kosuke Akiyoshi crashed out with a massive highside at turn 7 (Lesmo 2).
The Japanese rider apparently didn’t suffer any injuries, but did go to the medical center without recording a single lap.
Closing out the top ten was Michel Fabrizio who is sporting a one off helmet to support Sofia, a little girl who is suffering from leukodystrophy.
This afternoon’s Superpole could easily see Max Biaggi’s 2011 Superpole record (1′41”745) fall.
The air at Monza has certainly given Marco Melandri a big boost of confidence after struggling these past few rounds.
The BMW Goldbet rider’s yesterday’s lap in 1′42.883 remained the benchmark for the field. The Monza track was still damp after an intense rain shower late last night, but the field was able to use their slicks and in the final minutes of the session with a drying track there was the usual final rush to qualify for this afternoon’s Superpole.
Melandri and Jonathan Rea didn’t improve their Q1 times, and were safely in first and second, but Sylvain Guintoli did. The Aprilia factory rider dropped four tenths of second from yesterday and touched a top speed of 333.6 km/h.
Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty were 4th and 5th fastest, with the Aprilia factory rider pipping the two Aprilia privateers in the finale with Davide Giugliano in 6th and Michel Fabrizio finishing 7th.
Loris Baz also improved and he was 8th and followed by Fixi Crescent Suzuki duo Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel. Chaz Davies moved up to tenth after his yesterday’s bad crash at the Lesmo, which left his BMW in pieces and to be put together again.
Carlos Checa would have been in the Superpole after qualifying 11th yesterday, but the Spaniard has decided to withdraw from the round. The Ducati Alstare rider arrived at Monza suffering from osseous edema on his humerus.
Qualifying for the Monza Superpole are Ayrton Badovini, Fabrizio Lai who is replacing injured Alexander Lundh in Kawasaki Pedercini, Max Neukirchner, and Federico Sandi who edged out Mark Aitchison for the last spot in Superpole
World Superbikes’s first qualifying session at Monza was longly delayed as the track had to be cleaned up after Mitchell Carr’s Triumph leaked oil from the Serraglio to the Ascari chicane during Supersport qualifying.
The QP1 started with some sun and a dry track so lap times dropped with Marco Melandri taking over the top of the timesheets with a best lap of 1′42.883, even if their were some drops of rain during the halfway mark, which fortunately didn’t turn into a rain show.
Jonathan Rea also moved forward to take second in the finale, demoting Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli to third after he led most of the practice.
Tom Sykes was fourth and more than six tenths from Melandri and followed by three Aprilia riders, Althea’s Davide Giugliano, Red Devil’s Michel Fabrizio and Aprilia factory’s Eugene Laverty. Loris Baz was 8th fastest, while Fixi Suzuki’s Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel closed out the top ten.
Tom Sykes got off to a blazing start in this weekend’s third round of the World Superbike championship at a cloudy, cold and rainy Assen.
The Kawasaki rider blasted out a 1′58.947 in the first free practice - that was characterized by numerous crashes - that remained virtually untouchable for the rest of the field, and he was only rider to break the 1.59 barrier despite late attempts by Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli and BMW Goldbet’s Marco Melandri who up to the final minutes of the session weren’t even able to get out of the two minute mark.
Guintoli was able to post a hot lap in 1.59.438, while a still suffering Melandri was a little more than two tenths adrift from the current standings leader and they were the only two to ride in the 1.59s.
Aragon’s double winner Chaz Davies was fourth and he was more than 1.781 seconds from Sykes and he was followed Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam who was already in the 2.01s, but suffered a crash and had to be taken to the medical center with a suspected fracture. Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel was sixth.
Ayrton Badovini put his Panigale into seventh just ahead of Leon Camier who got the green light to ride in today’s first session following his surgery two weeks ago and managed to get in nine laps in the treacherous conditions.
Carlos Checa was ninth with the second Panigale while Ivan Clementi made a suprise visit into the top ten with his HTM Racing branded BMW 1000RR thanks to the wet track, while Eugene Laverty was 11th and four seconds of pace. Jonathan Rea did not complete any of the three laps he tried on his team’s home track which left him off the timesheets.
Other crashers included last weekend’s Bol d’Or winner Loris Baz, Davide Giugliano, and Alexander Lundh.
In less than 24 hours the third round of the World Superbike season will start at the Dutch circuit of Assen. BMW Goldbet riders Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri will be heading to the historic track, with Davies wanting to build on his double victory at Aragon two weeks ago that propelled him to second in the standings, making him a challenger for the title, now that he is comfortable with his bike which has improved in electronics and engine.
Marco Melandri is a different story. The Italian rider was expected to be a title favorite however is still battling with shoulder problems following his surgery late last February. While he seems confident that his problems should not repeat themselves at Assen, Melandri did reveal to GPone.com that his doctor advised him that he needs total rest in order to give his shoulder time to heal.
The BMW rider said that he hasn’t the time and needs to work out in order to build up strength and mobility, but he is suffering from stabbing pain and a burning sensations that wake him up so he is forced to take pain killing shots and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Chaz Davies’ weekend at Motorland Aragon was almost all firsts, he scored his maiden front row start and then went on to win both races, giving his BMW Motorrad Goldbet team their first double victory of the season and moving up to second in the championship standings just 22 points from Sylvain Guintoli, making him now a strong championship contender.
“For me it is just an amazing day. I cannot explain how happy I am. What a weekend! My first victory with BMW and then the double win - this is something I was hoping to achieve this year but I did not expect it to happen this early. I want to thank BMW and everybody who supported me. I knew coming here that we are going to be strong. BMW has done a fantastic job over the last month we had off since Australia, and everybody was working very hard. In addition, I now really feel that the RR is mine, I feel so comfortable on it. In race one, the DNFs by Tom and Eugene definitely made it easier. In race two it seemed that I had a comfortable lead, but to be honest I had to push a lot. One of the most impressing things is the fact that we have done a lot of testing in Jerez but not here in Aragón, where nearly everybody else has been. So to win with that up against us, is quite impressive and it is credit to the work BMW has done. We will now keep being focused, continue to work hard and look forward to Assen, another race track I really like,” said Davies.
Marco Melandri’s weekend at Aragon was an uphill struggle, chatter on his BMW S1000RR kept him from qualifying well - he was 8th - that his team only resolved in warm-up practice. In race 1, despite clawing his way to a provisional second place, Melandri hit a neutral on his bike that dropped him back to fifth and he finally recovered two positions to take a third place podium. In race 2, a wrong tire choice - temperatures were higher as were lap times - consigned him to a fifth place.
“After race one I was still pretty happy. At the start I wasn’t very comfortable with the front end and I made a big mistake trying to catch the guys in front of me at the end of the main straight. After that I got into a good rhythm and improved into second place. I thought that would be my position in the end but unfortunately the bike went into neutral between third and second gear. But I finished in third place which was not so bad for me. In race two, based on my experience with the 16.5 inch tyre, I chose a harder tyre for the front. But with the 17 inch tyre, it worked differently to how I expected. I had less grip and could not ride properly. In the beginning I pushed very hard, but then I preferred not to risk too much. For me, it wasn’t the best weekend. I had no pain in my shoulder, but by the end of the race I had no strength left in my arms. I am looking forward to the next race in Assen, when we will be in a better shape. Congratulations to Chaz. He rode awesome – well done!” commented Melandri, who is now fourth in the standings.
The first race of the second round of the 2013 World Superbike season was full of technical drama for the podium favourites, Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes who both suffered from technical issues just a few laps into the race that was won by a highly impressive and fast Chaz Davies who took his second Superbike victory of his career.
The race start was slightly delayed as Mark Aitchison’s Effenbert Liberty Ducati died on the starting grid and had to be pushed off to the pitlane. Once the lights went off, Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty got the holeshot ahead of polesitter Tom Sykes, followed by an aggressive Chaz Davies who immediately began nosing around Sykes and the two began exhange paint during lap 2. While Sylvain Guintoli kept his nose clean trying to follow the two battling riders, as Laverty tried to put as much space as possible between himself and the rest of field, while a struggling Marco Melandri dropped to eighth after an error.
During lap 4 while he was leading, Laverty ran slightly wide and his Aprilia began losing power dropping him to the penultimate position and then he was forced to return to his garage to discover what the issue was - he would later rejoin just to test his Aprilia, but his race was irreparably compromised.