Photography by Gold & Goose
It was an eventful race one in World Superbike action at the scenic Motorland Aragon in Spain. BMW’s Chaz Davies emerged as the winner after both Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes each had bikes issues while leading and were forced to drop out of the race. The victory vaulted Davies from 10th to third in the championship standings.
The race started with Laverty nailing the start and moving up the inside of pole winner Sykes to take the early lead. Laverty immediately began to pull away and it looked like it was going to be a good day for the Irishman. Then suddenly on lap four his factory Aprilia slowed and he pulled out of the race. He could be overheard in his garage telling one of his crew he thought the problem was electronics.
That put Kawasaki’s Sykes into the lead, but a lap later he too was pulling off with bike problems.
It seemed leading Aragon was becoming bad luck.
With the exit of the two early leaders that left Davies in front with series leader Sylvain Guintoli in his draft. Davies avoided the bad luck of his predecessors and gradually pulled away to a 5.216 margin of victory to give him his first victory for the factory BMW team.
The former AMA road racer looks to be emerging rapidly as a star in World Superbike.
“It’s extremely satisfying,” Davies said of his race one victory. “In Australia I had nothing to write home about with a fourth, but that early on in the season for me it felt like a bit of a win. I knew coming into this race we could be strong. BMW has done a fantastic job in the last month that we’ve had off and I’ve been working hard getting used to the bike and I’m really starting to feel like it’s mine. The team has done a fantastic job setting it up after my needs and here we are on top of the podium. We’ll see if we can keep going.”
Guintoli finished second, the Frenchman holding off a strong challenge by two-time Aragon winner Marco Melandri.
“This is not my favorite track,” Guintoli said afterwards. “But Aprilia has been working hard all weekend. My pace at the start was very good, better than I thought it could be. I managed to stay with the leaders for a while. I was pushing very hard. I was riding every lap like a qualifying lap and maybe I used the tires a bit too much, I don’t know. Then I was struggling with the pace, trying to control the use of the tires, so finishing the race in second was fantastic for me.”
Melandri actually got his factory BMW into second before running wide in a turn on lap 16 and dropping back to fifth and then having to work his way back by Davide Giugliano and Jonathan Rea to earn a podium spot.
“I had a good start, but I was not very confident with the front [tire],” Melandri said. “I made a little mistake trying to catch the guys in front of me and I went wide at the end of the main straight. Then I got back in and I felt I might get back to second again, but then the bike skipped out of gear between third and second and I could not stop. The marshals took too long for me [to let him back on the track]. I lost like 10 seconds more so it was impossible for me to catch again, so third was not so bad for me. I’m happy, my shoulder is feeling good, so I want to try to get better for race two.”
Pata Honda’s Rea came home fourth ahead of Kawasaki’s Loris Baz rounding out the top five.
It was a big disappoint on the final lap for Giugliano. His Althea Racing Aprilia seemed to run out of fuel while he was running fourth.
The results of race one means that Guintoli now has a solid 20 point lead in the championship over Aprilia teammate Laverty, who remains second in spite of his DNF. Davies is now third in the standings, making a huge leap from 10th.
Aragon World Superbike Race One Results – April 14, 2013
1. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 39'50.332
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 39'55.548
3. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 39'57.421
4. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 39'58.528
5. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 40'04.749
6. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 40'08.664
7. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 40'14.638
8. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 40'16.216
9. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 40'26.053
10. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 40'34.461
11. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 40'41.756
12. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 40'59.549
13. Ivan Clementi (HTM Racing) BMW S1000 RR 41'04.423
14. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 41'38.660
NC. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 40'08.280
RT. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 37'57.840
RT. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 22'31.831
RT. Mark Aitchison (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 13'07.647
RT. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 10'02.121