Photography by Gold & Goose
JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, Spain (Oct. 20, 2013) – The last hurrah – championship decided and nothing but pride on the line in World Superbike race two at Jerez Sunday. Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty might have come up short in the world championship, but he put the curtain down on 2013 with a commanding sweep in Jerez, beating newly-crowned champ Tom Sykes in a straight up, head-to-head race.
Laverty took over from Sykes on lap 14 and pulled away to a 2.7 second margin of victory. Laverty’s teammate Sylvain Guintoli rounded out the podium finishers. Fittingly it was the top three riders in the championship standings on the podium in the season finale.
In the end Laverty scored nine wins on the season to lead that category. It was his second sweep of the year.
Laverty was again a good starter leading into the first turn, but coming off the back straight Sykes out-braked race one winner to take over the lead. Sylvain Guintoli and Toni Elias slotted into third and fourth after an early dice with Davide Giugliano, who in turn battled with Chaz Davies.
With riders having one last opportunity to show their wares for next season, some pushed over the edge. Xavi Fores and Vittorio Iannuzzo were early fallers.
Sykes and Laverty had pulled clear and were bidding their time up front. The Spanish fans hoped the race would come down to a thrilling end, but Laverty had other ideas. He seemed to manage his tires in the first half of the race better and on lap 14 he took over the lead and immediately pulled away from Sykes.
To be fair, Sykes, already the champion, had little incentive to give chase and in the end they finished a couple of seconds apart.
BMW’s Marco Melandri toughed it out in race one, but elected to sit out the final race due to an ankle injury he suffered falling down the stairs at his home.
Toni Elias scored his best result of the season in fourth and former AMA standout Chaz Davies rounded out the top five.
On the cool down lap Sykes took his time celebrating his title with the fans, at one point getting off his motorcycle and lighting some of the fans’ fireworks.
In spite of the win Laverty was somewhat subdued in the post-race press conference.
“It was nice to finish the season with a double win,” Laverty said. “These last nine races have been great. We’ve been on the podium every time. But for what we did in the mid-season with some problems we had, we finished the season off strong and that’s always important. We gave Tom and Kawasaki everything we could and they’ve been too strong for us lately, but nice to bounce back here with another two victories and two very different wins. The first one I really had to fight with Marco right to the end and overtook him on the outside in the last corner. This time I’d thought I’d go for the conventional down the inside to pass Tom. I knew I had a little bit more grip than him about two-thirds distance, so I thought time to go and finish the season on a high.”
Jerez – FIM Superbike World Championship – Race 2
1. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 36’05.989
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 36’08.700
3. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 36’11.699
4. Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 36’21.498
5. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 36’27.819
6. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 36’32.547
7. Lorenzo Lanzi (Mesaroli Transports A.S.) Ducati 1098R 36’36.829
8. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 36’39.045
9. Mark Aitchison (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 36’42.288
10. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 36’46.856
11. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale 36’50.297
12. Broc Parkes (Monster Energy Yamaha – Yart) Yamaha YZF R1 36’58.472
13. Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 36’59.663
14. Michel Fabrizio (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 37’26.305
15. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 36’37.139
RT. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 7’04.803
RT. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale 3’37.385
RT. Xavi Fores (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale
RT. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR
NS. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR