Marco Melandri's hopes of winning the World Superbike Championship title for BMW have taken a minor blow after having a potential podium result snatched away by Eugene Laverty's last lap pass, a move his team manager described as 'close to the limit'.

An eventful day for Melandri, the Italian admits he was somewhat fortunate to have the race restarted twice having struggled for ultimate pace during the previous two attempts at getting the race underway.

Tweaking the BMW S1000RR during the prolonged breaks, the third start would see Melandri back out front as he tussled with team-mate Chaz Davies for the lead. However, having been unable to find his way through, Melandri was caught napping by a charging Tom Sykes with five laps remaining, demoting him to third.

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With Sykes going on to take the lead from Davies up ahead, Melandri would save up for a last lap lunge on his team-mate at turn five, but a wide exit would not only allow his counterpart back through, but give Eugene Laverty a run on him into the Corkscrew.

With Laverty shuffling through into third place, Melandri was left to contend with fourth position, a result that drops him 45 points off Sykes in the standings.

"This race was closely fought, unfortunately with a negative outcome for me. The two red-flags in some ways helped me because in the first two parts of the race I could not go as fast as I wanted. Then, before the third start, we made some changes and finally I had a good speed. I started quite well; I had a good race pace and I wanted to be in front.

"Unfortunately on this track it is very difficult to overtake. I tried it in every way but I did not succeed. With this result we have lost important points and I am sorry for that. Tomorrow we will see what will happen in race two."

Indeed, Laverty's determined overtake into the Corkscrew was met with some derision from BMW team manager Serafino Foti.

"Unluckily Marco was passed during the last lap so we lost some important points for the championship. It was a manoeuvre which we felt was a bit close to the limit."