26 August 2012
Super Sykes cruises to Moscow victory
However, just as Rea looked to be priming himself for a move on Laverty, he would crash very suddenly at turn 13 on lap 11, the Ulsterman losing the front-end of his CBR1000RR to slide into retirement.
Promoting Davies, who had already passed Haslam, into third place, the pack would be depleted once more just three laps later when Giugliano slid off at turn 11, compounding Althea Ducati's frustrating start to the day.
With drama unfolding behind him, Laverty was still holding onto second place, but was now under increasing pressure from Davies and Haslam as the Aprilia rider began to contend with severe tyre issues over the course of the race's second-half.
Making the most of his RSV4's strength down the straight, Laverty was able to keep his lines tidy to retain second for much of the race, until lap 17 of 25 when Davies found a gap into turn 13 and muscled his way through.
Opening the door for the close-following Haslam and Marco Melandri, who had make good gains with a flurry of fast laps mid-race having been two seconds behind the chasing pack at one stage, the BMW pair joined Davies in overtaking Laverty.
With Laverty dropping away, the fight for the remaining podium positions looked set to come down to Davies, Haslam and Melandri, but more drama was to come when Davies ran wide at turn three on lap 19, prompting Haslam to dive for the opened gap. However, Davies would shut the door as Haslam approached, the pair making solid contact, enough for the BMW rider to fall from his bike, while Davies stayed upright but lost time running off the circuit.
Their collision duly allowed Melandri to ascend into a somewhat unexpected second position, the Italian being rewarded for coming on strong in the final laps and staying out of trouble as chaos unravelled around him.
The intensity of the second place fight was of little concern for Sykes up ahead though, the Kawasaki rider benefitting from the drama behind to finish almost nine seconds ahead of Melandri at the chequered flag.
Marking his second win of the season – and Kawasaki's third -, the result also cements Sykes's third place in the standings at the expense of the unfortunate Checa.
Melandri held on for second, but will be frustrated to have seen his key title rival Max Biaggi standing alongside him on the podium as he too benefitted from his rivals' problems.
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