Absolutely horrendous conditions at Moscow Raceway for the Russian round of the World Superbike championship contributed to a terrible accident on the first lap of the World Supersport race that resulted in the death of Go Eleven Kawasaki rider Andrea Antonelli. With heavy rain falling at the start of the race—and some World Superbike riders such as Marco Melandri stating that pooling water on the track surface was “dangerous” in the previous WSBK race one—Antonelli crashed on the back straight in the middle of the pack. He was unavoidably hit by Pata Honda’s Lorenzo Zanetti, who also crashed; Antonelli was transported to a local hospital where efforts to revive him failed.
The FIM, Dorna, and race promoter YMS Promotion decided to cancel the rest of racing activities scheduled for the day, which included the second World Superbike race.
The tragic accident overshadowed an action-filled WSBK race one, with the opening laps run on a dry racetrack before rain began to fall intermittently on various parts of the track. FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel and Team Ducati Alstare’s Carlos Checa tangled on the first lap, resulting in Checa crashing out of the race. Then pole sitter Davide Guigliano slid off on lap two, a victim of the changing conditions; with the track not completely wet, all the riders stayed out on slicks, hoping that the conditions would dry out.
Then WSBK title leader Tom Sykes pulled off the track on lap three when his Kawasaki’s engine blew, with the oil catching fire and forcing the British rider to step off his flaming machine.
Meanwhile, BMW Motorrad Goldbet’s Chaz Davies and teammate Marco Melandri were pulling a major gap on the field, with both Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty and Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam crashing out in separate incidents. But then the rain became heavy enough with five laps to go that the field was forced to head into the pits to switch to rain tires. Melandri was able to pass his teammate once they exited the pits, and went on to win, with Davies second and Checa’s Ducati Alstare teammate Ayrton Badovini grabbing third.
Sykes’ DNF coupled with Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli finishing sixth leaves the Frenchman in the title lead by four points.