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Guintoli wins as red flag halts Sykes charge

27 April 2014

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  • Sylvain Guintoli claims his second WSBK win of the season after a race-ending red flag comes at the right time
  • Guintoli was being caught by Sykes with five laps to go when red flag stops race early
  • Jonathan Rea completes the podium, ahead of Loris Baz

Sylvain Guintoli has taken his second World Superbike Championship win of the season at Assen after a fortuitously timed red flag arguably prevented Tom Sykes from challenging him for victory.

Starting second on the grid, the Frenchman stormed into the lead from the opening bend and proceeded to put a substantial gap between himself and the competition, initially headed up by Jonathan Rea, before Tom Sykes moved into second place on lap two.

However, with Sykes's initial charge nixed by a wide moment on lap four – forcing him to lose time and slip back behind both Rea and Loris Baz -, Guintoli's advantage at the front of the field would grow to more than four seconds.

Despite this, Sykes would charge his way back into contention, passing both Rea and Baz in quick succession on lap seven and eight to rise to second position.

In clear air, Sykes would mount his comeback, proceeding to bring the gap down to Guintoli to just one second with five laps remaining, only for the red flag to be shown due to Geoff May's EBR 1190RX expiring on the tricky right-left-right final bend.

With enough of the race completed for the result to be declared, Guintoli would be confirmed as the race winner, the Aprilia rider rewarded for his push in the opening stages to claim his second WSBK win of the season in a scenario not dissimilar to his Phillip Island success.

Despite missing out on the chance to challenge for victory, second place sees Sykes put more distance between himself and his rivals at the head of the overall standings.

Further back, Rea and Baz would maintain their race-long battle, with Rea coming out on top to extend his record of scoring podiums at his team's home event to five consecutive years. Pole sitter Baz, would settle for fourth.

More than twenty seconds further back, Toni Elias completed his best result of the season so far with a run to fifth place, the Spaniard – along with several other riders – losing time after getting bottled up behind Marco Melandri for much of the race as the Italian struggled to keep the pace.

Heading a train of riders, but holding each at bay, it took until lap 11 for Elias to get past, the Spaniard going on to finish well ahead of his factory Aprilia stablemate.

Melandri, meanwhile, held on for sixth after upping his pace in the closing stages to re-pass Chaz Davies, the Welshman a disappointing seventh in a frustrating race all round for Ducati after Davide Giugliano slid off on the slippery kerbs on lap one.

Similarly, Suzuki endured a troubled race with Eugene Laverty crashing out of ninth place on lap seven, while Alex Lowes lost time with an off that would leave him ninth, behind Leon Haslam.

Niccolo Canepa reeled off his first EVO win of the season in a fine tenth place overall, the Italian running with the chasing pack initially before focusing on claiming the EVO spoils.

Bimota's Ayrton Badovini was 11th across the line and second in class, but his automatic exclusion promotes Luca Scassa up into the position, the Pedercini Kawasaki climbing the order to claim his best finish of the season. David Salom, Leon Camier, Claudio Corti and Jeremy Guarnoni completed the points' paying positions.

As well as Giugliano and Laverty, Christian Iddon suffered a disappointing exit after crashing his Bimota out of a strong 11th place, while neither EBR will start the second race after retiring with mechanical issues.


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