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Melandri and Laverty top Monza

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Monza, Sunday 12 May 2013 – Italy’s ultra fast Monza circuit did not disappoint overnight with the world’s leading world superbike riders producing two incredible races in round 4 of the 2013 championship. While Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) snatched the victories, Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes and Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli were key players in the lead action and ensured a breathtaking four way battle to the line in both races.

Race 1

Marco Melandri was the winner of a thrilling and ultra-close first race, following a spectacular battle throughout the 18 laps.

The 11th race win for the home rider - his maiden on the Italian track - was a perfect display of racecraft, as Melandri entered the final lap in 3rd position and immediately overtook Tom Sykes at Turn 1, then made a successful move on Eugene Laverty for the lead. The works Aprilia Rider regained first position at the "Ascari" chicane, with Sykes also fighting for the lead. But Melandri was not to be outdone and took the Irishman at the last turn to snatch victory from both Sykes and Laverty.

The three riders crossed the line side by side, with Melandri winning by 0.085 seconds over Tom Sykes and by 0.107 seconds on Eugene Laverty. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) was part of the contention for the win but lost ground in the closing stages to finish 4th.

Marco Melandri: “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. Until the chequered flag, I was talking to my RR, telling her ‘go, go, go’ – that was incredible. In Race 2, Sylvain made a little mistake, I passed him and then tried to catch Eugene, but he was a bit too far away. Anyway, I was also very happy with second place. Now I am confident because I feel that the feeling with the bike is coming back."

Fifth place went to Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), ahead of Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) - who made his way up to sixth position following a difficult start - and Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team). Australia’s Mark Aitchison on the Effenbert Liberty Ducati took 16th.

Race 1 saw a new average speed record for the Superbike World Championship (201,814 km/h): the previous one was set in 2000 at Hockenheim (Race 1 - 201,330 km/h).

Melandri (BMW) 18 Laps/103.986 km in 30'54.925 average 201.814 kph; Sykes (Kawasaki) 0.085; Laverty (Aprilia) 0.107; Guintoli (Aprilia) 1.844; Davies (BMW) 7.629; Fabrizio (Aprilia) 8.407; Baz (Kawasaki) 15.555; Rea (Honda) 16.465; Camier (Suzuki) 16.668; Giugliano (Aprilia) 26.820; Badovini (Ducati) 38.908; Neukirchner (Ducati) 38.951; Lai (Kawasaki) 52.788; Akiyoshi (Honda) 55.889; Sandi (Kawasaki) 56.006; Aitchison (Ducati) 56.827; Cluzel (Suzuki) 59.545; RT. Iannuzzo (BMW).

Race 2

After his third place relegation in race one, Eugene Laverty took revenge over Marco Melandri to score a crucial victory in Race 2. The Irishman grabbed the lead on the penultimate lap and defended the position from a competitive Melandri, who set the fastest lap of the race right before the chequered flag in 1'42.379. With his 3rd race win of 2013, Laverty closes the gap on the championship leader Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) to 13 points, with Tom Sykes third with an 18 points gap from the top.

Eugene Laverty: “This was a great day for me. After the podium in Race 1 it was nice to end the weekend with a victory. Especially since I was a bit disappointed because I had a shot at the top step of the podium in the first race, as well,if I had managed the end differently. The points situation is excellent if you consider the double DNF in Aragon, but I've already left those difficulties behind me and I count on doing well at the next round at Donington as well."

The Kawasaki Racing Team rider completed the podium ahead of Guintoli, as both riders were part of a 4-way battle that characterised most of the 18-lap race.

Their race result is still provisional, as after the chequered flag the Aprilia Racing Team requested the Race Director analyse Tom Sykes’ last lap, who ran off track while entering Turn 5 - through the run off area - and rejoined by maintaining his 3rdposition and same pace. The appeal by Aprilia was upheld and after Sykes was penalised with one position place penalty, the Kawasaki Racing Team appealed to the FIM Stewards' Panel. Following an analysis of race footage and sector times by Sykes, preceding rider Melandri and following rider Guintoli, race officials decided to reinstate Tom Sykes third in the classification. This verdict could be further contested, as a second appeal could be lodged by the works Aprilia Team, this time to the International Disciplinary Court (within 5 days), that will eventually make the final decision.

Fifth place went to Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), after a close battle with Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia). Both riders had to face a strong Chaz Davies, up until the Welshman lost the front at Turn 5 during lap 12, and a fierce Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), 7th at the flag. Australia’s Mark Aitchison withdrew from the race on lap three.

Race 2 results - provisional: 1. Laverty (Aprilia) 18 Laps/103.986 km in 30'59.653 average 201.301 kph; 2. Melandri (BMW) 0.143; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 0.725; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1.619; 5. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 9.965; 6. Giugliano (Aprilia) 10.066; 7. Camier (Suzuki) 12.241; 8. Baz (Kawasaki) 29.771; 9. Badovini (Ducati) 35.005; 10. Neukirchner (Ducati) 41.757; 11. Lai (Kawasaki) 52.579; 12. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1'28.772; 13. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1 Lap; RT. Davies (BMW); RT. Rea (Honda); RT. Akiyoshi (Honda); RT. Aitchison (Ducati); RT. Cluzel (Suzuki). Standings - provisional (round 4 of 15): 1. Guintoli 137; 2. Laverty 124; 3. Sykes 119; 4. Melandri 96; 5. Davies 94; 6. Baz 75; 7. Fabrizio 74; 8. Rea 71; 9. Giugliano 49; 10. Camier 46; 11. Cluzel 41; 12. Neukirchner 39; 13. Badovini 32; 14. Checa 29; 15. Haslam 29; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 172; 2. BMW 144; 3. Kawasaki 130; 4. Honda 78; 5. Suzuki 68; 6.Ducati 52.

World Supersport - Heroic win by Sam Lowes

Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) pulled off an outstanding overtaking manoeuvre on the last lap of the world supersport race to score his 2nd win of the season and become the new championship leader. The 23 year old fromLincoln had a fantastic drive out of Turn 4 to pass all three riders ahead of him at the following chicane. Lowes quickly built a small margin on the chasing pack to cross the line in 1st place ahead of Florian Marino (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki), Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport) and Riccardo Russo (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki). The top-5 in today's race, completed by Kev Coghlan (DMC-Racing Kawasaki) put up an outstanding battle throughout all 10 laps.

While on the lead in lap four of the race, reigning Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) lost the front at turn 8 and was out. Team mate Fabien Foret didn't take part in the race after being involved in a multiple crash at Turn 1 that brought to a third red flag - and eventually led to the decision to postpone the world supersport race till after World Superbike race 2. Similar misfortune for rookie Michael van Der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport).

In world supersport, Australia’s young Matt Davies registered his best result of the season – a 16th on his Honda; whileWollongong’s Mitch Carr on the AARK Racing Triumph was 25th.

Race results: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 10 Laps/57.770 km in 18'09.799 average 190.835 kph; 2. Marino (Kawasaki) 0.798; 3. Zanetti (Honda) 0.989; 4. Russo (Kawasaki) 1.342; 5. Coghlan (Kawasaki) 1.487; 6. Morais (Honda) 8.261; 7. Leonov (Yamaha) 11.044; 8. Scassa (Kawasaki) 11.169; 9. Ivanov (Kawasaki) 11.199; 10. Marconi (Honda) 11.253; 11. Rolfo (MV Agusta) 14.119; 12. Scholtz (Suzuki) 14.522; 13. Iddon (MV Agusta) 14.964; 14. Linortner (Honda) 15.079; 15. De Rosa (Honda) 15.123; etc. Standings (round 4 of 14): 1. Lowes 70; 2. Foret 54; 3. Vd Mark 49; 4. Sofuoglu 45; 5. Zanetti 40; 6. Scassa 34; 7. Marino 31; 8. Antonelli 29; 9. Russo 26; 10. Kennedy 24; 11. Coghlan 22; 12. Rolfo 22; 13. Leonov 21; 14. Marconi 16; 15.Roccoli 14.Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 90; 2. Yamaha 78; 3. Honda 65; 4. MV Agusta 22; 5. Suzuki 8. The fifth round of the 2013 world superbike championship will be held at Britain’s Donington on May 26.