Photography by Gold & Goose
Marco Melandri came out on top over factory Aprilia teammate Sylvain Guintoli in one of the most riveting last-laps battles in recent World Superbike memory. The two teammates gave no quarter and were pushing their bikes well into the limits of traction the entire last 3.4 miles of the Sepang Circuit. After swapping the lead several times, it was Melandri, ever the aggressor, taking the victory by 0.166 seconds over Guintoli. Tom Sykes, nursing a tender wrist from a race one crash, scored a solid third, 2.6 seconds behind the leading Aprilias.
Toni Elias led the field into turn one, but Guintoli was there looking for a pass. After a couple of stabs at it, Guintoli made the pass stick halfway through the first lap. Sykes ran third. On the second lap, first race winner Melandri moved into third, getting past Sykes.
On the fourth lap the race was stopped after Claudio Corti’s MV Agusta began leaking oil and actually caught fire.
On the 10-lap restart it was Aprilia 1-2-3- with Elias again rapid off the line on the Red Devils Roma Aprilia followed by the factory bikes of Guintoli and Melandri.
On lap two Guintoli took over the lead and Melandri went too hot into a turn nearly taking out Elias in the process, hanging Elias out to dry and dropping him to fifth. In the shuffle Sykes moved up to second.
By lap three Guintoli had already gapped the field by a full second. On lap five Melandri dove under Sykes at the end of the front straight to take over second. He found himself 1.4 second behind his leading teammate.
In the closing stages of the race Melandri chased down Guintoli setting up their epic last-lap confrontation.
Behind Sykes came Elias in fourth place, ahead of Loris Baz and Jonathan Rea.
The third for Sykes preserved his points lead over Guintoli by 13 points. Guintoli moved past Rea to take the runner-up spot in the standings.
Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia) was the best classified EVO rider, racing to 12th at the end of the race ahead of David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team).
Alessandro Andreozzi (Pedercini Kawasaki), and his team mate Romain Lanusse both crashed out, thankfully without injury.
“It was an unbelievably tough race,” said Melandri, who earned his third podium finish of the season. “At the beginning I was battling a little bit with Kawasaki, so I lost a little bit of time from Sylvain and I think he was riding more aggressive than race one. I tried lap by lap to close the gap, but it was very tough because he was very consistent. In the last two laps when I connect with him I just say to myself that I had to try to do everything. Maybe I don’t win, but I have to try to the last turn. My bike was working so good. I think it was an amazing day for Aprilia.”
The series resumes on June 22 at Misano.
World Superbike Sepang - Race two results – June 8, 2014
1. Marco Melandri ITA Aprilia Racing RSV4 10 laps
2. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 +0.166s
3. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +2.689s
4. Toni Elias ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 +5.386s
5. Loris Baz FRA Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +5.514s
6. Jonathan Rea GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR +7.073s
7. Eugene Laverty IRL Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +7.476s
8. Chaz Davies GBR Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R +11.057s
9. Alex Lowes GBR Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +15.866s
10. Davide Giugliano ITA Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R +16.206s
11. Leon Haslam GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR +16.488s
12. Leon Camier GBR BMW Italia S1000RR +23.820s (E)
13. David Salom ESP Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +30.653s (E)
14. Jeremy Guarnoni FRA MRS Kawasaki ZX-10R +31.266s (E)
15. Niccolo Canepa ITA Althea Ducati 1199 Panigale R +43.009s (E)
16. Bryan Staring AUS IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R +46.127s (E)
17. Sheridan Morais RSA IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R +58.167s (E)
18. Imre Toth HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR +1m 00.017s
19. Peter Sebestyen HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR +1m 03.574s (E)
20. Aaron Yates USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX +1m 13.522s
Ayrton Badovini ITA Bimota Alstare BB3 (E) *
Christian Iddon GBR Bimota Alstare BB3 (E) *
* Ineligible to score points, removed from results (Badovini across the line 13th, Iddon 16th)
21. Romain Lanusse FRA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 6 laps completed (E)
22. Alessandro Andreozzi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 3 laps completed (E)
23. Fabien Foret FRA MAHI Kawasaki ZX-10R 0 laps completed (E)
Did Not Start
Claudio Corti ITA MV Agusta RC F4RR
Geoff May USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX
1. T. SYKES KAWASAKI 201
2. S. GUINTOLI APRILIA 188
3. J. REA HONDA 179
4. L. BAZ KAWASAKI 170
5. M. MELANDRI APRILIA 147