Eugene Laverty picked up his first World Superbike double since Monza in 2011. Eugene Laverty picked up his first World Superbike double since Monza in 2011. Photo courtesy worldsbk.com

Laverty takes World Superbike sweep

Written by  on Monday, 16 September 2013 07:48

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) made a clean sweep of the competition by winning both WSBK races at round 11 of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship on Sunday and narrowed the gap to Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) – third and second at the flag in the two races – to 26 points.

Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) got one podium finish each, but lost some ground in the title chase, which sees them now sitting eight and 33 points short of the leader, respectively.

“My previous double-win was at Monza in 2011, but this one has a special meaning because it was totally unexpected,” Laverty said. “I am very happy as my bike was perfect, even better in the second race – despite the similar pace- as I could make the difference in the final stages. I'm back into contention for the title, but most of all I regained confidence and that gives me great hope for the next rounds."

Laverty won the first race of the day at the Intercity Istanbul Park, after what was a perfect performance by the Irishman. Moreover, it was the first Race 1 win - out of five overall - this year for Laverty, a crucial result for his title hopes.

The factory Aprilia got in the lead during lap 13 by overtaking Sykes and 10th by 10th he managed to pull away, while the Championship leader lost some ground and was passed by Melandri three laps later.

The Italian made an outstanding recovery from the third row on the grid thanks to a strong race pace but, once he managed to move up to second place, it was too late to try and catch Laverty. Meanwhile, Guintoli began his charge to third place, but Sykes successfully defended his position up to the finish line.

Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Team Aprilia) ended up fifth after a close battle with Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), that ended up with a collision between the two - with both able to stay upright – at the exit of the last turn. An almost identical situation involved Pata Honda riders Leon Haslam and Michel Fabrizio, with the Brit managing to secure ninth place ahead of his team mate for the round.

The Honda duo crossed the line behind Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) and Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), who were seventh and eighth respectively.

Laverty stole the show with an outstanding performance in Race 2 at the Intercity Istanbul Park. The Irishman started his charge on early leader Sykes and, after spending half of the race chasing the rival, he eventually closed the gap and overtook the factory Kawasaki rider on lap 12, at turn 14. Laverty then proved he had the pace to stay in the lead and maintained a one-second gap up to the finish line, while Sykes had to settle for second place.

“Two podiums today even though it was the first time for me here,” Sykes said. “We made two or three changes to the bike between races and I think everybody saw that our bike was working a bit better in the second one. We started that race quite strongly and I was able to lead again but some of our competitors were using the tires a little bit better. Unfortunately I did not have the package at the end of the second race to fight back and try to win it. I believe that we can learn and improve from this weekend."

Guintoli crossed the line a lonely third, as the Frenchman never managed to get in contention for the win. Fourth place Melandri had a challenging first part of the race, in which he had to make his way through a pack of hungry opponents: Elias, team mate Davies and Giugliano, who finished fifth, sixth and ninth, respectively.

Giugliano, former STK1000 Champion, managed to get a good start, but he lost ground as the race progressed to end up behind Cluzel and Haslam.

Ayrton Badovini's (Team Ducati Alstare) absence from the grid resulted in the first-ever World Superbike race with no Ducati machines on track, the second one in history with no points for the Italian manufacturer.

Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India) and Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) put up a superb fight Sunday in the World Supersport race at the Intercity Istanbul Park. The two riders, who had been battling heat-to-head for the win in almost every round contested so far, managed to give the vocal and ecstatic Turkish crowd something to remember.

In the end, after swapping positions for countless times, the home hero managed to score an historical win. Lowes tried everything he could to snatch victory over the finish line, eventually finishing behind his rival by just fourth hundredths of a second.

Lowes is now ever-closer to his first World Supersport title, as he is leading the standings with 49 points over Sofuoglu, with just two races left in the season.

Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport), who was up front in the early stages of the race, could not keep the pace of the front runners and finished third ahead of team mate Lorenzo Zanetti.

Roberto Rolfo (ParkinGO MV Agusta Corse) did an outstanding recovery from 14th place on the grid, eventually ending up fifth.

The eni FIM Superbike World Championship will resume at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in two weeks time, while Supersport will be back on track – along with the two STK classes and EJC – early next month at Magny-Cours.

World Superbike Race 1 Results

1.Eugene  Laverty (Aprilia) 18 Laps/96.120km in 34:57.650 (164.962km/h);

2. Marco Melandri (BMW) +2.009

3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +3.432

4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +3.919

5. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) +15.830

6. Toni Elias (Aprilia) +15.945

7. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki) +16.921

8. Chaz Davies (BMW) +21.491;

9. Leon Haslam (Honda) +40.186;

10. Michel Fabrizio (Honda) +40.218

Etc.

World Superbike Race 2 Results

1.Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 18 Laps/96.120km in 34:58.775 (164.873km/h);

2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +1.708

3. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +4.052

4. Marco Melandri (BMW) +10.860

5. Toni Elias (Aprilia) +12.171

6. Chaz Davies (BMW) +12.396

7. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki) +17.434

8. Leon Haslam (Honda) +17.683

9. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) +25.770

10. Michel Fabrizio (Honda) +38.735

Etc.

World Superbike Standings (Round 11 of 14)

1.Tom Sykes 323

2. Sylvain Guintoli 315

3. Eugene Laverty 297

4. Marco Melandri 290

5. Chaz Davies 239

6. Loris Baz 180

7. Jonathan Rea 176

8. Michel Fabrizio 168

9. Jules Cluzel 141

10. Davide Giugliano 139

11. Leon Camier 114

12. Ayrton Badovini 107

13. Max Neukirchner 84

14. Carlos Checa 80

15. Leon Haslam 78

Etc.

--From worldsbk.com

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John Hopkins

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