Photography by Andrea Wilson
MONTEREY, CA, SEPT. 29 - Eugene Laverty came out on top of what was a four-rider battle to the finish of the second of two World Superbike Championship rounds at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca today, the factory Aprilia-mounted Irishman holding back the advances of Italian David Guigliano on the Althea Racing Aprilia by just .112 of a second after 26 frantic laps of Laguna.
Behind that pair were the other two in the mix for the duration – BMW’s Marco Melandri and yesterday’s winner Tom Sykes. Sykes had led almost all of the race, the Kawasaki-mounted Brit led laps four through 24 before being passed by first Laverty in turn five and then Guigliano in turn 11 on the 24th go-around. To make matters worse for the championship leader, Melandri also passed him a lap later in turn five to knock him off the podium.
If there was any consolation for Sykes it’s that he still finished ahead of the man who was chasing him in the championship chase, Sylvain Guintoli. But with his fifth-place finish to Laverty’s win, it’s now Laverty who holds down second in the title chase – 23 points behind Sykes. Guintoli is now a point behind his teammate Laverty with Melandri fourth with 319 points – 42 points behind Sykes. Ironically, Guintoli has a contract to ride with the factory Aprilia team next year while Laverty is looking for work.
“We’ve got 100 points left so today was important,” Laverty said. “We slipped 35 points behind yesterday so I knew I had to beat Tom [Sykes] today. First and foremost, I have to give a big thanks to these guys because they took some points away from Tom and that helps me with the championship. I did everything I could. Yesterday was a little too little too late and today we made a step with bike and it was a bit better, but the will to win is what pulled me through today because I was pushing the front a lot. I wanted to win so badly and I made it happen today.”
Sixth place today went to Jules Cluzel, the Laguna Seca first timer having a successful weekend on the Fixi Crescent Suzuki. Gluzel was seventh in yesterday’s race so he picked up a spot today.
Behind Cluzel came Red Devils Roma Aprilia mounted Toni Elias, the Spaniard running down and passing Roger Lee Hayden for seventh. Hayden, however, and the Michael Jordan Motorsports team have to be happy with eighth place – especially considering that Hayden was riding the team’s AMA-spec Suzuki GSX-R1000. Hayden crashed out of yesterday’s race.
Kawasaki’s David Salom, who is riding for the injured Loris Baz, ended up ninth with Michel Fabrizio riding the Pata Honda to 10th. Then came his teammate Leon Haslam, the Brit finishing ahead of the second American finisher Blake Young, the Wisconsinite having a decent weekend with two 12th-place finishes on the second Fixi Cresent Suzuki.
Michael Jordan Motorsports’ Danny Eslick ended up 14th in the race after crashing out of yesterday’s race one.
The notable non-finisher in today’s second race was BMW’s Chaz Davies, the runner-up in yesterday’s race exiting early with a front-brake problem.
World Superbike Race Two Results
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
September 29, 2013
1. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia)
2. Davide Guigliano (Aprilia)
3. Marco Melandri (BMW)
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia)
6. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki)
7. Toni Elias (Aprilia)
8. Roger Lee Hayden (Suzuki)
9. David Salom (Kawasaki)
10. Michel Fabrizio (Honda)
11. Leon Haslam (Honda)
12. Blake Young (Suzuki)
13. Mark Aitchinson (Kawasaki)
14. Danny Eslick (Suzuki)