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WSBK Monza: Laverty turns the tables to deny Melandri

12 May 2013

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Eugene Laverty has won his third World Superbike Championship race of the season at Monza after turning the tables on Marco Melandri to deny his rival the double on home soil.

Two years after claiming his maiden WSBK victories around the high-speed Italian circuit, Laverty kept it neat and tidy into the Parabolica at the final time of asking, avoiding a repeat of the first race when he lost the win to Melandri on the last bend.

Another tension-building race between Laverty, Melandri, Tom Sykes and Sylvain Guintoli, the quartet would circulate in tandem for the majority of the race, Laverty leading initially before Guintoli pushed to the front on lap eight of 18.

From here, there would be little change until Laverty made his decisive move at the start of lap 17, a burst to the front that would inspire Melandri to follow through into the Parabolica too.

Setting up a final lap showdown, Laverty led the way from Melandri, Guintoli and Sykes into the first turn, but a poor exit for Guintoli would allow Sykes to get ahead on the run to Roggia. However, when Sykes was forced to sit up under braking for the chicane, thus taking him straight on, he would re-join in front of Guintoli once again.

A somewhat controversial move, though Guintoli raised the issue in parc ferme, Sykes insisted he was comfortably ahead before the bend and his failure to make the corner was due to Melandri braking earlier in front of him.

Either way, the error would ultimately leave both riders with too much to do over the remainder of the lap, freeing Melandri to challenge Laverty. Following him down the back straight, Melandri appeared to be priming for a move into the iconic final corner – as he did in the first race -, but Laverty would cover the line, the BMW rider unable to get an overlap as a result.

It meant Laverty could cruise relatively comfortably to the finish line, winning by just over a tenth and evoking memories of his double success for Yamaha back in 2011.

Melandri followed in second, giving his beleaguered title hopes a significant boost on his home circuit, while Guintoli has seen his championship advantage whittled down to 13 points by his Aprilia team-mate.

A race of attrition, Chaz Davies ran with the leaders early on, but a mistake into the first turn on lap five would drop him back to eighth. The Welshman would battle his way back into fifth, only to low-side out of the race at the Roggia chicane on lap 12.

There was similar disappointment for Jonathan Rea, who suffered mechanical problems on his Pata Honda just five laps into the race.

In the end, Michel Fabrizio and Davide Giugliano would finish fifth and sixth, despite both enduring off-track excursions, with Leon Camier come home in seventh position aboard the sole remaining Fixi Crescent Suzuki, his team-mate Jules Cluzel having crashed on lap two.

Starting from the pit lane after failing to get away on the warm-up lap, Loris Baz recovered to a solid eighth place, while Ayrton Badovini won the battle of the Ducati riders by finishing ninth ahead of Max Neukirchner.

Just 13 riders would reach the finish line, with Fabrizio Lai, Vittorio Iannuzzo and Federico Sandi picking up the remaining available digits in 11th, 12th and 13th.


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