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Chaz Davies has catapulted himself into the World Superbike Championship title fight after pulling off a remarkable double victory at Motorland Aragon.
Just hours after taking full advantage of mechanical gremlins sidelining key rivals Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes to win race one, Davies was in imperious form yet again to claim another comfortable victory in the second.
Scoring a maximum haul of 50 points on a landmark day for the Welshman, though problems for Laverty and Sykes would once again aid his cause in the early stages, Davies proved himself to be the fastest rider on the circuit regardless to win by five seconds from Sylvain Guintoli.
Davies might have stood greater competition from Laverty had the Irishman, having taken the lead at the first corner, not barrelled his Aprilia out of the race at the very next turn. Coupled to his mechanical issues in race one, the erstwhile series leader leaves the Aragon with no points to show for.
His demise briefly lifted Sykes to the front, but the Kawasaki rider's hopes of capitalising were scuppered on lap two when he ran wide at turn five, dropping him behind Davies, Guintoli and Marco Melandri.
Giving Davies clear air once more, the BMW GoldBet rider proceeded to reel off a series of fast lap times that would eke his margin out over Guintoli, who in turn was pulling away from Melandri, the Italian backing up Sykes and Davide Giugliano.
It was the break Davies needed, his fastest lap – the only one to go beneath 1min 59secs during the race – helping manage a margin that would grow to five seconds by the time he crossed the finish line for a stunning double win.
It's a result that duly lifts Davies up to second place in the standings after two rounds, albeit a comfortable 22 points behind the ultra-consistent Guintoli, who has now finished no lower than second position in four consecutive races. By comparison, no other rider in the field has managed four straight top ten finishes.
Behind him, the fight for the podium would come down to a recovering Sykes and Davide Giugliano after Melandri's pace began to elude him the second-half of the race.
With the Kawasaki and Althea Aprilia rider drawing battle-lines, Sykes would hold firm to pick up a much needed podium on a somewhat frustrating day for the pre-weekend favourite.
Behind Giugliano, himself making up for a DNF in race one, an overshadowed Melandri came home a fairly quiet fifth, with Loris Baz and Jules Cluzel doing a fine job to get themselves back up to sixth and seventh positions despite starting from the back of the grid and the pit-lane respectively.
An unhappy home round for Carlos Checa would see him end the weekend in eighth place, the Alstare Ducati rider getting the better of an out-of-sorts Leon Haslam on the Pata Honda.
Still, the Briton fared better than his team-mate Jonathan Rea, who pitted early on citing brake issues before returning to circuit a lap down. Making the most of a fairly high attrition rate, he was still able to pick up a point in 15th.
Ayrton Badovini rounded out the top ten, ahead of Michel Fabrizio, Max Neukirchner, Alexander Lundh, Ivan Clementi – who suffered a mid-race fall – and Rea.