Photography by Gold & Goose
Eugene Laverty and Aprilia are brilliant at making adjustments for the second race. Two times previously this year the Irishman dialed things in for race two and come out on top. It happened again in World Superbike race two at Monza, where in another riveting final lap, Laverty held off BMW’s Marco Melandri, who looked to have a perfect draft maneuver going, but was unable to match the drive of Laverty’s Aprilia out of the final turn.
Tom Sykes earned the final podium position on his Kawasaki, holding off series leader Sylvain Guintoli in spite of running off in one of Monza’s tricky chicanes on the final lap.
With no rider able to break away in race one, owing to Monza’s long straights and the draft coming into play, race two turned into a waiting game. Laverty led Sykes into the first set of turns to begin the 18-lap race. At the end of the first lap it was Laverty leading Davide Giugliano, Sykes and Melandri.
On the second lap Giugliano slipped off the track at a chicane and fell off the lead pack. A few laps later Chaz Davies did the same as Monza’s chicanes proved as tricky as ever to negotiate.
The race developed into a four-rider breakaway with Guintoli, Laverty, Melandri and Sykes pretty much running in line, all waiting for the final laps to make their move.
Behind the lead pack was a great battle for fifth between Davies, Giugliano and Leon Camier. That race was decided when Davies crashed out on lap 11 while trying desperately to close the gap on the leading quartet. Then Michel Fabrizio moved up on the Red Devil Roma Aprilia to displace both Giugliano and Camier to nail down fifth.
Rea, who ran as high as fifth on the first lap, was out after five laps with what appeared to be a mechanical issue on his Honda. Jules Cluzel and Kosuke Akiyoshi both crashed out.
Up front the waiting game came to an end when, with two to go, Laverty made his move around Guintoli to the front. Melandri wasted no time in following. Sykes meanwhile seemed down on speed to the Aprilias and BMW, but was making up the gap on the Kawasaki’s brakes in nearly every corner.
On the final lap the risky late braking finally cost Sykes when he ran wide in one of the chicanes, dropping him from contention for the lead. Surprisingly Guintoli was not able to take advantage of Sykes’ miscue, fading late as he did in race one. He would again finish fourth, seeing his championship lead diminish yet more.
It came down to Laverty and race one winner Melandri.
Out of Parabolica (Monza’s final turn) Melandri lined his BMW up perfectly in the slipstream of Laverty’s Aprilia. The TV announcers predicted Melandri would win, but as they came out onto the front straight, Laverty was able to hook up just a little better under acceleration, while Melandri’s bike wiggled under the strain. In the end that was the difference and Laverty won by 0.143 seconds to score his third victory of the season, making him the top race winner so far in 2013.
"It was nice to get the win and make amends for losing out in race one," said Laverty afterwards.
The victory also moved Laverty by Sykes into second in the standings. He is now just 13 points behind Guintoli. Sykes five points further back in third, in what is shaping up to be a very good championship battle.
The series next runs at Donington Park on May 26.
Monza - FIM Superbike World Championship - Race 2
1. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 30'59.653
2. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 30'59.796
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 31'00.378
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 31'01.272
5. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 31'09.618
6. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 31'09.719
7. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 31'11.894
8. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 31'29.424
9. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 31'34.658
10. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 31'41.410
11. Fabrizio Lai (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 31'52.232
12. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 32'28.425
13. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 31'06.572
RT. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 19'01.771
RT. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 11'20.596
RT. Kosuke Akiyoshi (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 7'06.643
RT. Mark Aitchison (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 5'31.798
RT. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'47.465