Melandri Takes Championship Lead

Cycle News Staff | August 26, 2012

BMW’s Marco Melandri leads the World Superbike Championship for the first time in 2012, the Italian winning race two at the Moscow Raceway in Russia after finishing second in race one while his championship rival Max Biaggi crashed out of the second race.


In the first of the two races, Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes celebrated his new contract with the team by taking his second race win of the season. With the race starting in iffy conditions after rain hit the area in the morning hours, Sykes was the master and he was able to pull away from the field to take the win.

His race was made easier when pole sitter Carlos Checa crashed out on the third lap after making contact with Jonathan Rea’s Honda.

Rea would also be a crash victim later in the race while battling for second. Not long after Davide Giugliano would make it a horrible first race for the Althea Racing team when he too crashed his Ducati.

The battle for second would ultimately come down to Chaz Davies, Leon Haslam and Melandri. Davies and Haslam would make contact with Haslam going down, allowing Melandri to sneak through to grab second place. Also benefitting from the melee was Biaggi, the Aprilia rider ending up in third behind his rival Melandri.

Biaggi’s teammate Laverty would end up fourth.

With 6.5 points separating Biaggi from Melandri, race two saw Sykes again take the lead with Melandri moving past Laverty and Haslam to take over second place.

On the 10th lap, Biaggi’s championship points took a hit when he crashed out after slamming into the back of Haslam’s BMW, taking them both out of the race.

With Biaggi out, Melandri went after Sykes and was soon right behind the Brit. It didn’t take him long to make his move and after that the Italian was able to cruise home to his sixth win of the season.

More drama came late as Laverty highsided with just a few corners left in the race, his bike going into the path of Rea who crashed. All of that moved Davies up to third from sixth, as Checa also had to take evasive action. Checa would finish fourth.