2014 WSBK – Sepang ResultsMon, 09 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700
The first ever World Superbike round in Malaysia offered a plenty of drama including both factory Kawasaki riders crashing out on the first lap, a red flagged second race and an overall impressive outing by Aprilia.
Under pressure for his lack of results so far this season, Marco Melandri impressed, earning the double for his first career wins on the RSV4 Factory. Aprilia riders led every lap in both races at Sepang, including the red-flagged initial start for Race 2, with Sylvain Guintoli joining his teammate on the podium with a pair of second-place finishes.Race One #450263714 / gettyimages.com
The first race could not have gone any worse for Kawasaki. Loris Baz – tied for second in the championship with Honda’s Jonathan Rea behind his teammate Tom Sykes – fell while braking into the second corner of the opening lap, crashing out and taking out Sykes and Suzuki‘s Alex Lowes. Both Sykes and Lowes were injured in the crash but all three riders were able to go in Race Two.
With the Kawasaki riders out of the race, the Aprilia riders took advantage. Factory rider Guintoli was first after the opening lap with Red Devils Roma‘s Toni Elias in second on his RSV4. Ducati‘s Chaz Davies followed in third but Melandri was right behind him in fourth.
Melandri made his move on Lap 3, jumping two spots to follow Guintoli. The two factory Aprilias continued to lead the rest of the way, with Melandri passing Guintoli on Lap 10 to take the lead and eventually, the win.2014 WSBK Sepang Race One Top Five Results Pos. Rider Motorcycle Time 1 Marco Melandri Aprilia RSV4 Factory - 2 Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia RSV4 Factory +0.620 3 Eugene Laverty Suzuki GSX-R1000 +12.865 4 Chaz Davies Ducati 1199 Panigale R +15.437 5 Toni Elias Aprilia RSV4 Factory +15.723 Race Two #450271044 / gettyimages.com
The second race was halted after three laps after the engine on Claudio Corti‘s MV Agusta F4 blew, resulting in a small fire and a large oil spill. Guintoli was leading at the time with Elias again with a strong start in second ahead of Melandri, so they were lined up on the front row for the restart while Sykes – who qualified second – was dropped back to fourth. The restarted race was shortened to 10 laps.
Elias took the early lead on the first lap but Guintoli, Melandri and Sykes were all well within a second behind him. By the end of the second lap, Guintoli had regained the lead with Sykes in second.
Sykes was not able to progress any further however, hampered by an injury to his throttle hand from the Race One crash. Melandri took advantage, moving up into second on Lap 5. Melandri then continued to track his teammate, the two riders changing the lead on the final lap with Melandri coming out ahead.2014 WSBK Sepang Race Two Top Five Results Pos. Rider Motorcycle Time 1 Marco Melandri Aprilia RSV4 Factory - 2 Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia RSV4 Factory +0.166 3 Tom Sykes Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R +2.689 4 Toni Elias Aprilia RSV4 Factory +5.386 5 Loris Baz Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R +5.514 After Six Rounds
The Race Two podium helped Sykes maintain a 13-point lead in the championship standings. Guintoli’s two second-place finishes pushed him up two spots to second overall. Rea had a pair of sixth-place finishes, enough to give him the edge over Baz for third overall. Melandri remains well back from the lead but the two wins vaulted him past Davies into the top five.
The 2014 WSBK Championship continues June 22 at Misano.2014 WSBK Top Five Standings after Five Rounds Pos. Rider Team Points 1 Tom Sykes Kawasaki 201 2 Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia 188 3 Jonathan Rea Pata Honda 179 4 Loris Baz Kawasaki 170 5 Marco Melandri Aprilia 147
By Dennis Chung
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