Photography by Gold & Goose
ISTANBUL, Turkey (Sept. 15, 2013) — Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty made it a clean sweep at Istanbul Park on Sunday, scoring the victory in race two of the World Superbike Championship in Turkey. The victory, that played out almost exactly as race one where he passed early leader Tom Sykes, moved Laverty into third in the standings and is now just 26 points out of the series lead making him a true championship contender.
It marked the sixth win for Laverty this season, matching the win total of Sykes.
Sykes and his Kawasaki were improved in race two. He stayed closer to Laverty once the pass was made, but there was no question the Aprilia was the motorcycle to beat on this weekend.
Sykes was blazing at the start. He blasted off the line on his Kawasaki and stretched out a 0.6 second lead on the first lap. Sylvain Guintoli, Davide Giugliano and Eugene Laverty battled close for second in the opening laps.
As Sykes stretched his lead race one winner Laverty was again on the move. In the next few laps he moved past both Giugliano and Aprilia teammate Guintoli to move into second. He was about 1.4 seconds back from Sykes by the time he broke through.
By lap six Toni Elias and Marco Melandri were fighting over fourth and trying not to lose touch with the leading trio. Melandri outbraked Elias into the esses to take over the position.
Just under halfway the factory Aprilia looked stronger as the tires wore and Laverty steadily chipped away at Sykes’ lead at one or two tenths a second. By lap eight it was down to just over a second between the leading duo. Guintoli was all alone in third with Melandri and Elias giving chase in fourth and fifth.
By lap 11 Laverty got the gap under a second and was gaining fast. It was obvious that Sykes was struggling to maintain his leading pace. On lap 13 the inevitable happened and Laverty took over the lead with a clean move through the esses. He appeared unstoppable en route to a double win.
In the closing laps Laverty cruised home to victory with a 1.7-second margin. Sykes held off a late charging Guintoli for second. Melandri was alone in fourth, while his BMW teammate Chaz Davies had a fantastic late-race battle with Elias. Elias came out on top, the former Moto2 world champ taking the last turn a bit stronger than his rival.
The result of the race had Sykes opening up his lead on Guintoli to eight points (from one point entering the weekend) and Laverty moving past Melandri as he gets in the mix for the championship.
“It’s great to get the double,” Laverty said. “It’s been since Monza in 2011 when I last did a double. Today it was quite unexpected to win both races, especially by the margins we had. It was a surprise for me, but my team gave me a great bike and the Aprilia worked very well late in the race.”
Next up for the series is Laguna Seca.
Istanbul Park – FIM Superbike World Championship – Race 2
1. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 34’58.775
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 35’00.483
3. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 35’02.827
4. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 35’09.635
5. Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 35’10.946
6. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 35’11.171
7. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 35’16.209
8. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 35’16.458
9. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 35’24.545
10. Michel Fabrizio (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 35’37.510
11. Mark Aitchison (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 35’47.667
12. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 35’47.911
13. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 36’35.364
14. Tolga Uprak (CMS-Eypbike Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 35’31.608
15. Yunus Ercelik (Sampiyon 169 Team) BMW S1000 RR 35’45.795