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WSBK Assen: Laverty defeats Sykes for Assen victory
28 April 2013 CLICK HERE
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Eugene Laverty has taken his second World Superbike Championship win of the season with a meticulously plotted triumph over race one winner Tom Sykes.
After finishing a distant fourth in race one, the Irishman came into the afternoon encounter looking to prevent pole sitter Sykes from running away with the victory as he did in the first outing, even if he would allow the Kawasaki rider to run up front for more than three-quarters of the race.
Seemingly preferring to bide his time, Laverty instead settled in behind Sykes as they stretched away from the chasing pack, the Irishman evidently priming himself to launch his attack in the closing stages of the race.
That charge would come with just three laps remaining when, having circulated as Sykes's shadow almost the entire race, dived through into the lead at Ruskenhoek.
Attempting to gap Sykes through the last few laps, Sykes would nonetheless keep himself well in contention aboard the ZX-10R, turning into chaser as they entered the final revolution.
However, despite Sykes's best efforts to respond on the final lap, particularly at the last corner as he attempted to get the overlap in the sprint to the finish line, Laverty would ultimately hold firm to cross the line in front by 0.089s.
A second win of the season for Laverty, it's a result that gives his title hopes a big boost following his double DNF last time out at Aragon. Similarly, Sykes's win and second place lifts him up the order, the Briton now level on points with Laverty and Chaz Davies in second position overall.
Behind the fight for the lead, a four-way tussle for the final spot on the podium went the way of the youngest rider in the quartet, Loris Baz.
Getting away well from the second row, Baz ran fourth initially behind Davide Giugliano, but the Italian's challenge would end when a seemingly innocuous low-side at turn one on lap six became rather more dramatic after a burst fuel line set the Althea Aprilia on fire. Despite damage to the bike, Giugliano was unhurt.
Despite Giugliano's exit, Baz would still have to contend with attention from Jonathan Rea, Sylvain Guintoli and Chaz Davies for the remainder of the race, but while series leader Guintoli would get past on lap 15, the younger Frenchman would simply grab it back on lap 17 before holding off Rea to the finish line.
Guintoli, meanwhile, would have to settle for sixth in the end, the series leader – who came into the race with five consecutive podium finishes under his belt – beaten to the line by Davies, who was never quite able to get on terms with the riders ahead of him until the last corner.
Further back, Leon Camier completed a truly extraordinary day given the severity of his knee injury, following up his run to ninth in race one to finish seventh in race two, albeit at the expense of Fixi Crescent Suzuki team-mate Jules Cluzel, who was forced out with problems.
Having failed to make the start of race one, BMW's Marco Melandri endured another curious race, the Italian running fourth initially, only to slip back to eighth and then seemingly slow with a technical issue. Despite this, Melandri would get back up to speed – though not before dropping to 11th – before benefiting from Cluzel's retirement and overtaking Carlos Checa and Michel Fabrizio to recover for eighth.
Fabrizio picked up ninth place, while Checa completed another fairly dissatisfying day for the Alstare Ducati squad to come home in a very distant tenth.
With 15 riders reaching the chequered flag, Ayrton Badovini, Max Neukirchner, Ivan Clementi, Federico Sandi and Mark Aitchison picked up the last remaining points in 11th to 15th.