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Marco Melandri has given his World Superbike title hopes a significant boost with his second win of the season at Portimao after battling back to beat Sylvain Guintoli and Tom Sykes by just 0.007secs.
A race that would go down to the wire as Melandri and Guintoli disputed the lead, the BMW GoldBet rider may have been in victory contention throughout, but he was still forced to recover from being two seconds back with five laps remaining after coming off worse in a robust pass by Sykes with five laps remaining.
Prior to that, five riders initially vied for the lead, with Sykes getting the jump from pole position to go in front initially before Eugene Laverty fought his way past on lap seven, the pair being chased by Melandri, Guintoli and Jonathan Rea.
However, five became four when Rea slowed with mechanical issues on lap nine before leader Laverty followed suit just three laps later when smoke began billowing out of his expiring Aprilia along the home straight.
Almost simultaneously, Melandri would leap from third to first at the expense of Sykes, with Guintoli rounding off the depleted group of three riders having seemingly recovered from a mid-race lull that had seen him slip almost three seconds behind.
As the trio circulated in tandem, tensions rose on lap 17 of 22 when Sykes dived down the inside of Melandri into turn one, in turn running the Italian out wide onto the kerb, forcing him to sit up and roll across the run-off area.
Dropping him to third place, Melandri found himself two seconds adrift of the rejuvenated battle for the lead between Sykes and Guintoli, but the embattled Italian would need just two laps to find himself back on the tail of his rivals.
By this stage, Sykes's challenge was beginning to fade as he ceded the lead to Guintoli at the start of lap 19, before Melandri followed through just seconds later.