Photography by Gold & Goose
If Motorland Aragon was any indication, there is a new favorite in World Superbike in the form of Chaz Davies. It was a perfect day for Davies, the Welshman winning the second race by 5.035 seconds on his factory BMW Motorrad GoldBet S1000 RR, after scoring victory in race one to make it a clean sweep. It was the first World Superbike double for the former Daytona 200 winner.
Davies came into Aragon in 10th in the standings; he left in second, just 22 points down to Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli and he seems incredibly confident as the series begins its European swing.
The track was considerably hotter in race two, but it made no difference for Davies. When fast starting Eugene Laverty crashed on turn two on the opening lap it was Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes there to take advantage. Sykes led the first lap with Sylvain Guintoli briefly taking the point going into turn one, but running wide.
Then on lap three Sykes made an error of his own, also running too hot into a turn and that gave Davies the opening he was looking for. He took over first and from there was simply unstoppable. Davies methodically walked away, and even though the ever consistent Guintoli continues to lead the championship, Davies appears to be gaining in poise, so much so that he clearly looks in a great position, from an early season perspective, to give BMW its first World Superbike title it covets so much.
Sykes recovered from a first race DNF and his early mistake in the second leg to hold off numerous challenges by Aprilia satellite rider Davide Giugliano to earn the final podium position.
The race got of too a delayed start. Just before the drop of the green flag Jules Cluzel raised his hand. His Fixi Crescent Suzuki would not start. Bikes were overheating sitting so long so a restart was initiated and another warm-up was run. The race length was reduced from 20 to 19 laps.
Laverty got the holeshot for the second straight time, but mid-way through the second turn he lost the front end and crashed out, perhaps a victim of the delay and a cooled off front tire. From there Sykes held it for a few laps, made his mistake and it was all Davies, turning laps consistently three to four-tenths faster than the field.
Jonathan Rea pitted on lap six with brake issues on his Honda. He reentered the race after adjustments a couple of laps back in hopes of earning points. Loris Baz was under investigation for possibly jumping the start, but was listed as sixth on the results sheet immediately after the race.
Two-time Aragon winner Marco Melandri was in the mix early on with Sykes and Giugliano in a battle for third, but in the second half of the race he fell off the pace of the leaders with what appeared to be front end push problems and settled for a distant fifth. Giugliano had been stalking Melandri for several laps before he finally slipped past on lap 10 when Melandri pushed his front going into a turn.
For Sykes his third was at least some consolation for his first race DNF.
“It was a disappointment in race one,” Sykes said. “But overall it was a decent recovery for myself and Kawasaki. I’m looking forward to moving on to some circuits where hopefully we can make up some ground.”
Even though he finished in the same position, series leader Guintoli said race two was much easier.
“Race one we had many problems, but this one was much better,” Guintoli said of the second leg. “The Aprilia worked so well. We did some modifications and I was really happy with the result, especially here. This is my worst track. Last year I was nowhere, not even a top 10 here. So two strong second-place finishes and leading the championship is great.”
Guintoli concluded his remarks by announcing he and his wife are expecting their fourth child.
Davies now is squarely in the title hunt and was clearly thrilled with his results in Spain.
“It was an amazing day, “a jubilant Davies said after the race. “I can’t explain how happy I am and how thankful I am for BMW and everybody for supporting me. It’s been quite a surprising day. I didn’t expect to be able to double. It was what I was aiming for, but it’s an amazing feeling. It’s a shame about Eugene slipping off there on the second corner, but I think it’s going to be a tough, full battle for the championship. For now I will savor these wins and move on to Assen in a couple of weeks.”
Guintoli leaves Spain 22 points ahead of Davies. Laverty, who shared the series lead coming in, slips to third, 18 points behind Davies. Laverty leads a gaggle of riders bunched up in the standings, including Melandri, Fabrizio, Sykes and Jules Cluzel, all separated by just 12 points.
The series moves to Assen in two weeks.
Aragon World Superbike Race Two Results – April 14, 2013
1. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 37'52.691
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 37'57.726
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 38'00.368
4. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 38'05.240
5. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 38'12.457
6. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 38'16.546
7. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 38'19.617
8. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 38'24.284
9. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 38'27.999
10. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 38'37.188
11. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 38'45.762
12. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 38'47.914
13. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 39'25.686
14. Ivan Clementi (HTM Racing) BMW S1000 RR 39'34.670
15. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 38'46.723
RT. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 13'31.782
RT. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR
RT. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory
NS. Mark Aitchison (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R