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WSBK Portimao: Tyre woes sink Melandri double hopes
10 June 2013
Marco Melandri left the Portimao World Superbike round with mixed emotions, after a thrilling victory in race one was followed by tyre problems in race two.
The GoldBet BMW star was thus left to collect twelfth place.
“In race two, I could certainly have been on the podium but instead the rear tyre began to vibrate from lap two onwards,” said the Italian. “From lap three I started losing grip and then the tyre deteriorated. As a consequence the whole bike started to vibrate and it was difficult to ride. I did the best I could do in that situation.”
Just a few hours earlier, Melandri had been soaking up the celebrations after a 0.007s victory over Aprilia's title leader Sylvain Guintoli. The Frenchman's team-mate Eugene Laverty and Kawasaki's Tom Sykes also took turns at the front during the 22-lap encounter.
“When I was leading, it was very difficult, because it was very windy so it was hard to stay in front,” said Melandri, who also recovered from a close moment with Sykes. “When Tom [Sykes] passed me, he closed the line. Maybe he thought he was in front of me but he just pushed me out of the track.
“When I came back, I did not have any plan so I just pushed as much as I could. I tried to overtake Tom very quickly because Sylvain was very fast and tried to pull away. When I caught Guintoli I took the opportunity to pass him.
“The last lap is very difficult to explain, it was just very close and I pushed as much as I could. I am so happy and thank you to everyone at BMW.”
Melandri is now fourth in the world championship, 57 points from Guintoli.
Team-mate Chaz Davies faced an uphill task from twelfth on the grid, salvaging sixth and fifth places.
"Race one was kind of frustrating. My start was not particularly good and for the first few laps I was in the wrong company and I lost a lot of time. It did not ruin my race but it did not allow me to finish in a position that we were capable of.
“In the middle of the race, my pace was not too far off the guys in front so it would have been nice to have gone away with them. In the closing stages, we had a drop of performance as we started to lack a little bit of grip, also in the front where we were using the harder front tyre for stability purposes.
“For race two, we took a couple of gambles as honestly we did not have a lot to lose. We changed the front and the rear tyre and also changed the suspension a little bit. And in fact race two was much better than the first. I was much happier with the bike even if I did not quite have the grip that I wanted, especially on the first two laps. But then I found some grip from lap three onwards.
“Again, we have learnt something a little bit too late which is frustrating but in general we showed a better performance in race two, even if it not was good enough. So I would say that I am 'semi-happy´."
Davies is one place and 23 points behind Melandri in the championship standings.