24 February 2013
eni WSBK Championship standings - Phillip Island
Max who? Aprilia begin life without its champion in style with a victory apiece for Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty at Phillip Island.
If there were ever concerns from within the Aprilia camp that there could be no fitting replacement for the retired Max Biaggi, the first round of 2013 suggested the manufacturer could in fact have two worthy successors to its champion in Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli following their resounding 1-2 results in Australia.
Of course no firm conclusions can possibly be drawn just two races into a potential 30 race season, but Guintoli and Laverty's win apiece at Phillip Island was notable for the fact it appeared to come fairly easily.
Indeed, perhaps more so than previous years, there was no obvious favourite for the first races despite several days of pre-season testing, practice and qualifying, yet Guintoli's methodical rise up the order in race one and Laverty's startling late form in race two shows Aprilia are not missing its number one rider just yet.
A strong day for Aprilia all round, Michel Fabrizio looks to have found a comfortable home at Red Devils Roma after a couple of indifferent seasons with Suzuki and BMW, while Marco Melandri showed he isn't lacking in grit as he secured a podium despite the pain from his persistent shoulder injury.
Also suffering through the pain threshold, Tom Sykes picked up a pair of respectable fifth places in the circumstances, while Jonathan Rea actually holds sixth overall after one round despite finishing no higher than eighth in either race.
Elsewhere, it was a tough start to the year for the new Alstare-run Ducati 1199R, which lost out in luck what it was gaining in speed following Carlos Checa's race one wipe-out and subsequent race two withdrawal, while Ayrton Badovini didn't start at all due to a broken foot.
Chaz Davies and Loris Baz picked up strong finishes in the first race of the season, only to collide in race two, while Leon Haslam showed pace that belied his results. On the plus side, his seventh place in race one was the first time Rea has been beaten inside the top ten by another Honda rider since 2009…
Other notable results included Jules Cluzel salvaging a fine seventh on an otherwise troublesome WSBK debut weekend, while two of the series' returnees - Max Neukirchner and Ivan Clementi – were point-scorers in Australia, the latter picking up a 12th place finish in his WSBK first race for seven years.
In all, 16 of the anticipated 19 full-time riders would get off the mark in Australia, plus the two wild-card riders Glenn Allerton and Jamie Stauffer.
2013 eni World Superbike Championship rider standings
1. Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia Racing 45 points
1=. Eugene Laverty Aprilia Racing 45
3. Michel Fabrizio Red Devils Roma Aprilia 29
4. Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing 22
5. Marco Melandri BMW GoldBet Motorrad 16
6. Jonathan Rea Pata Honda 16
7. Leon Haslam Pata Honda 15
8. Jules Cluzel Fixi Crescent Suzuki 14
9. Leon Camier Fixi Crescent Suzuki 14
10. Chaz Davies BMW GoldBet Motorrad 13
11. Max Neukirchner MR Ducati 11
12. Davide Giugliano Althea Aprilia 10
13. Loris Baz Kawasaki Racing 10
14. Glenn Allerton Next Gen BMW 6
15. Ivan Clementi HTM BMW 4
16. Jamie Stauffer Honda Racing 4
17. Alexander Lundh Pedercini Kawasaki 4
18. Federico Sandi Pedercini Kawasaki 2
2013 World Superbike Championship manufacturer standings
1. Aprilia 50 points
2. BMW 29
3. Kawasaki 22
4. Honda 17
5. Suzuki 16
6. Ducati 11
Tagged as: Honda , Kawasaki , Suzuki , BMW , Aprilia , Leon Camier , Phillip Island , Marco Melandri , Leon Haslam , Eugene Laverty , Jonathan Rea , Max Biaggi , Tom Sykes , Michel Fabrizio , Sylvain Guintoli
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