The ultra-high-speed layout of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit lends itself to a lot of drafting and close finishes, and the World Superbike races held there this weekend were no different. Both races saw the top three covered by half a second, with multiple lead changes as the laps were winding down in each race. Having good top-end horsepower is vital at Monza, and it was easy to see who had the speed and who didn’t.
Marco Melandri took the Race...
Marco Melandri took the Race One victory with a last corner pass at the Parabolica turn at Monza.
In Race One, it quickly became a four-rider breakaway as the Aprilia factory pair of Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli plus Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes
started to gap the field, with BMW’s Marco Melandri soon joining them. Guintoli eventually was dropped by other three, and it quickly became a strategic race to see who would be in the right place on the last lap. Heading into the final Parabolica turn, Melandri stuffed his way up the inside of Laverty for the lead, which also allowed Sykes to sneak underneath the Aprilia rider for second. Sykes tried to make a run at Melandri but came up 0.085 seconds short, with Laverty taking third.
The second race saw some slight controversy that continued to run well after the race, and the official results may still be changed once again in a few days.
Aprilia's Eugene Laverty turned...
Aprilia's Eugene Laverty turned the tables on Melandri in Race Two, holding off the BMW rider for the win.
Laverty quickly sped into the lead of Race Two, with Guintoli, Melandri, and Sykes in tow. The quartet eventually split away from the chasing pack, with Guintoli taking the lead from Laverty on lap eight and holding it until the penultimate lap. Laverty snuck underneath Guintoli, allowing Melandri to also push past for second; soon Sykes also made a move on Guintoli, relegating the Frenchman to fourth with half a lap to go.
Sykes was forced to run off the track at the Roggia chicane however, which he said (and video collaborated) was necessary to avoid hitting an early-braking Melandri. Sykes regained the track ahead of Guintoli and held third to the finish, with Laverty holding off Melandri for his third win of the season.
There was some confusion in parc ferme after the race, with both Guintoli and Sykes showing up claiming they should be on the podium. Sykes was allowed to stand on the podium, but Guintoli’s team protested to Race Direction that Sykes had made a mistake which caused his off-track excursion, and that he should have been penalized. Race Direction upheld the Aprilia team’s protest, and docked Sykes one second, giving Guintoli third and relegating the British rider to fourth.
However, Kawasaki appealed to the FIM Stewards Panel, which examined the video evidence and summarily overturned the Race Direction penalty, giving third back to Sykes. But Aprilia have five days to appeal to the FIM International Disciplinary Court, so the matter of who gets the final podium position in Race Two at Monza may still be changed.
World Superbike Monza Race One results:
1. Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW
2. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki
3. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia
4. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Aprilia
5. Chaz Davies (GBR) BMW
6. Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Aprilia
7. Loris Baz (FRA) Kawasaki
8. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda
9. Leon Camier (GBR) Suzuki
10. Davide Giugliano (ITA) Aprilia
11. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) Ducati
12. Max Neukirchner (GER) Ducati
13. Fabrizio Lai (ITA) Kawasaki
14. Kosuke Akiyoshi (JPN) Honda
15. Federico Sandi (ITA) Kawasaki
16. Mark Aitchison (AUS) Ducati
17. Jules Cluzel (FRA) Suzuki
DNF Vittorio Iannuzzo (ITA) BMW
World Superbike Monza Race Two results:
1. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia
2. Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW
3. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki*
4. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Aprilia*
5. Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Aprilia
6. Davide Giugliano (ITA) Aprilia
7. Leon Camier (GBR) Suzuki
8. Loris Baz (FRA) Kawasaki
9. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) Ducati
10. Max Neukirchner (GER) Ducati
11. Fabrizio Lai (ITA) Kawasaki
12. Vittorio Iannuzzo (ITA) BMW
13. Federico Sandi (ITA) Kawasaki
DNF Chaz Davies (GBR) BMW
DNF Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda
DNF Kosuke Akiyoshi (JPN) Honda
DNF Mark Aitchison (AUS) Ducati
DNF Jules Cluzel (FRA) Suzuki
* - Subject to possible appeal to FIM
World Superbike Championship standings (after 4 of 15 events)
1. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Aprilia 137
2. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia 124
3. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 119
4. Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW 96
5. Chaz Davies (GBR) BMW 94
6. Loris Baz (FRA) Kawasaki 75
7. Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Aprilia 74
8. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda 71
9. Davide Giugliano (ITA) Aprilia 49
10. Leon Camier (GBR) Suzuki 46