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Tom Sykes extends championship lead to 23 points

Laguna Seca action Strip

Tom Sykes extends championship lead to 23 points after race 1 win at America’s Laguna Seca.  Eugene Laverty takes victory in race two. 

Laguna Seca (US), Saturday 28 September 2013 –  Race one report….Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) has won Race 1 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, which was eventually contested over 12 laps, rather than the scheduled 26 due to two red flags, caused by the crashes sustained firstly by Danny Eslick (Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki) and then by his team mate Roger Hayden. 

The works Kawasaki rider took the lead on the tenth lap thanks to an outstanding overtaking manoeuvre at Turn 11, after a side-by-side downhill ride with Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet). The championship leader then rode comfortably to win the race, while Marco Melandri lost some ground after trying to pass his team mate Davies at turn 5 and then, on the final lap, lost third place courtesy of a superb pass by Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) at the "Corkscrew".

Tom Sykes: “It was hard having three starts but it ended up good for us with a race win. Sylvain (Guintoli) and I came together at the entry to turn one off the start and our contact pushed my brake lever down from its normal position. That was a bit awkward to deal with for a little while but I got my head around it. I was pushing to stay with the BMW guys up front for a while but in the end it was a good race for us. Another race tomorrow so that is what I am thinking about now.”

Laverty's team mate Sylvain Guintoli ended up fifth, a frustrating result for the Frenchman who was comfortably in the lead in each of the two interrupted races. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) claimed sixth place, ahead of Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), Toni Elias (Red Devils Aprilia), Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) and Mark Aitchison (Team Pedercini Kawasaki).

Potential podium contender Niccolò Canepa (Team Ducati Alstare) and Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) could not line-up for the final restart of the race after crashing out in the second part. Both are thankfully uninjured as well as Eslick and Hayden, who should line up on the grid for tomorrow's second outing.

Results: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 12 Laps/43.320 km in 16'55.703 average 153.541 kph; 2. Davies (BMW) 1.253; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 2.454; 4. Melandri (BMW) 2.650; 5. Guintoli (Aprilia) 3.430; 6. Giugliano (Aprilia) 3.584; 7. Cluzel (Suzuki) 9.134; 8. Elias (Aprilia) 11.252; 9. Badovini (Ducati) 14.140; 10. Aitchison (Kawasaki) 17.830; 11. Salom (Kawasaki) 18.010; 12. Young (Suzuki) 21.767; 13. Fabrizio (Honda) 22.087; 14. Sandi (Kawasaki) 32.837; 15. Iannuzzo (BMW) 34.267; 16. Allerton (BMW) 50.167.

Laverty wins an intense race two

Laguna Seca (US), Sunday 29 September 2013..Race two report – Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) has won the second race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in spectacular fashion in front of 41.175 excited spectators. After passing Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Team) at Turn 5 with two laps to go, the Irishman made the exact same move on Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) on the following lap, breaking the spell that was holding the Brit at the front for most of the race.

Eugene Laverty: “It was not an easy race. I'd like to thank my team because they made some set-up adjustments to my bike that worked perfectly. I pushed to the limit on the last lap, Davide (Giugliano) and Tom (Sykes) were really strong but I'm happy for the win. It was an unexpected result, but now I'm now second in the standings ahead of two very different rounds. I would like to dedicate this win to my track engineer Marco Bertolatti, who’s just become father."

Sykes, on the other hand, tried everything he could to defend his position under braking, but once he lost the lead he was passed by both Giugliano and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), crossing the line in fourth place. The works BMW rider successfully stayed ahead of the Championship leader for third, while Giugliano did the best he could to snatch his first WSBK race win, eventually settling for second.

Tom Sykes: “It was great to win yesterday and I led for a long time today but that was the first time we have struggled all weekend. We were six or seven tenths off our best times in the same track conditions and we have to think about why that was. We know what our potential was here again today. We can keep improving and we have a couple of good circuits coming up so we will move on with confidence. In less than a week’s time we will be in France and doing it all over again.”

Sylvain Guintoli did not manage to catch the leading pack to be in contention for the win, but the end result today helped him stay in touch with Sykes in the standings, as he ended up fifth ahead of fellow Frenchman Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), Toni Elias (Red Devils Aprilia) wildcard Roger Hayden (Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki) and David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team).

A disappointing race for Team Ducati Alstare, as both Niccolò Canepa, who running 4th, and team mate Ayrton Badovini suffered crashes, while Welshman Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) had to pull in due to a technical problem on the second lap.

After today's results, Sykes is still the Championship leader with a 23 point advantage over Laverty who has jumped to second position in the overall standings. Guintoli is now third, a point behind his team mate while Melandri is now 42 points short from the lead.

Results: 1. Laverty (Aprilia) 26 Laps/93.860 km in 36'44.555 average 153.272 kph; 2. Giugliano (Aprilia) 0.112; 3. Melandri (BMW) 2.051; 4. Sykes (Kawasaki) 2.304; 5. Guintoli (Aprilia) 2.959; 6. Cluzel (Suzuki) 10.187; 7. Elias (Aprilia) 17.789; 8. Hayden (Suzuki) 20.602; 9. Salom (Kawasaki) 22.055; 10. Fabrizio (Honda) 23.472; 11. Haslam (Honda) 24.118; 12. Young (Suzuki) 29.563; 13. Aitchison (Kawasaki) 32.565; 14. Eslick (Suzuki) 51.777; 15. Canepa (Ducati) 1'05.824; 16. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1'23.892; 17. Allerton (BMW) 1 Lap; RT. Badovini (Ducati); RT. Davies (BMW); RT. Sandi (Kawasaki).

Standings (Round 12 of 14): 1. Sykes 361; 2. Laverty 338; 3. Guintoli 337; 4. Melandri 319; 5. Davies 259; 6. Baz 180; 7. Fabrizio 177; 8. Rea 176; 9. Giugliano 169; 10. Cluzel 160; 11. Camier 114; 12. Badovini 114; 13. Neukirchner 84; 14. Haslam 83; 15. Checa 80; 16. Sandi 47; 17. Elias 38; 18. Aitchison 29; 19. Iannuzzo 26; 20. Clementi 18; 21. Canepa 12; 22. Salom 12; 23. Lundh 10; 24. Hayden 8; 25. Lai 8; 26. Young 8; 27. Reiterberger 7; 28. Allerton 6; 29. Uprak 5; 30. Smrz 4; 31. Stauffer 4; 32. Ercelik 3; 33. Eslick 2; 34. Akiyoshi 2; 35. Haga 2. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 460; 2. Kawasaki 415; 3. BMW 390; 4. Honda 225; 5. Suzuki 212; 6. Ducati 152; 7. Yamaha 4.

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