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SSTK: Savadori cruises to first Panigale victory

6 May 2012

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Lorenzo Savadori has given the new Ducati 1199 Panigale its first victory on the international stage after cruising to a convincing Superstock 1000 win at a damp Monza.

Having not had the measure of BMW Italia rider Sylvain Barrier during the opening two rounds at Imola and Assen, the Barni Ducati team came into the race knowing it had a good opportunity to crack the Panigale's victory duck on its home soil in light of Barrier's shoulder injury.

As expected, Barrier struggled to maintain pace with the leaders, while Savadori and team-mate Eddi La Marra's other significant threat, Lorenzo Baroni on the second of the BMW Italia bikes, was ruled out by a terrible start that dropped him to 18th at the end of the opening lap.

As such, Savadori and La Marra assumed an early 1-2, the latter passing his team-mate at the end of the opening lap, though Savadori would regain the spot along the home straight at the start of lap three.

It would prove the crucial moment of the race as Savadori steadily stretched his advantage out front, the Italian's cause being aided when La Marra was nearly thrown into a high-side midway around the first corner chicane shortly after being passed.

Though he would recover from his fairly spectacular acrobats, the mistake would nonetheless drop him into the clutches of the race's surprise package Christoffer Bergman. The little-known Swede had gotten away well from sixth on the grid to hold down third, Bergman staying in touch with the leaders as they put distance between themselves and the chasing pack.

Latching onto La Marra's tail, Bergman eventually found his way past at the start of lap seven to split the Barni Ducatis. It was a position he would hold to the end of the race, the BWG Kawasaki rider resisting the renewed attentions of La Marra to record an unexpected podium result.

Meanwhile up front, Savadori was cruising to his maiden Superstock 1000 triumph to take the honour of claiming the first international category victory for the 1199 Panigale.

Adding to his celebrations, Savadori has also leapt from fourth to first in the overall standings after taking ultimate advantage of erstwhile leader Barrier's failure to make the chequered flag.

The Frenchman had started from pole position, but a dislocated shoulder sustained on Friday was clearly giving him discomfort as he became embroiled in an intense five-man fight for fourth position.

Though five became four when fellow title contender Loris Baz crashed out on a shaded damp patch at Ascari, Barrier had slid back to sixth when he too would crash at Ascari with just two laps remaining. Despite the DNF, his wins at Imola and Assen means he remains just three points off new leader Savadori.

In the end, fourth place went the way of Fabio Massei, who came on strong in the final laps to almost catch and pass both Bergman and La Marra, while Bussolotti came home a fairly quiet fifth on the SK Energy Ducati.

Similarly impressive was Hungarian racer Alen Gyorfi, who put in a career-best ride from 15th on the grid to claim a competitive sixth place finish on the MetalCom Adrenalin H-Moto Honda.

Markus Reiterberger notched up more points in seventh on an otherwise disappointing race for BMW, ahead of a recovering Baroni, while Jeremy Guarnoni took a notable ninth place finish having finished the opening lap in last position.

Elsewhere, there was heartbreak for the wild-card Gabrielli siblings, with Tommaso crashing out on the final lap, while his brother Matteo was on course for a top ten finish when his Aprilia seemingly ran out of fuel. Nonetheless, some determined shoving down the home straight would at least be rewarded with a tiring 11th place finish.


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