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Russia WSBK: Melandri, weather deny Davies in Moscow thriller

Marco Melandri rides through terrible conditions in Russia to deny Chaz Davies at the Moscow Raceway; Guintoli back in series lead after Sykes forced to retire.
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Marco Melandri has taken a dramatic third World Superbike Championship win of the season at the Moscow Raceway after making the most of a late pit stop in worsening weather conditions to deny BMW team-mate Chaz Davies.

A chaotic encounter from start-to-finish, the race began in dry conditions, but intermittent rain five laps in would throw a strategic curve ball into proceedings since only half of the circuit was considered slippery enough for wet tyres.

Indeed, with the circuit still dry enough in parts to negate any advantage of pitting for wet tyres, much of the race was run with riders struggling for grip in most of the sectors.

Even so, the first race in Russia had thrown up a series of dramatic moments even before the heavens opened, with Carlos Checa crashing out after a tangle with Jules Cluzel on lap one and pole sitter Davide Giugliano sliding off from second on lap two.

Most crucially, however, erstwhile series leader Tom Sykes was also out after suffering technical issues on lap three. Up to fourth from his ninth place starting position, Sykes looked primed for attack when he was forced to pull off just moments before the ZX-10R expired in spectacularly fiery fashion, much to his evident frustration.

With the field already down to just 13 riders after three laps, Davies found himself out front with a comfortable advantage, ahead of team-mate Melandri, while Eugene Laverty, Sylvain Guintoli, Loris Baz and Jonathan Rea disputed third position.

Rain eventually began falling on lap six, but would stay confined to only parts of the circuit, forcing riders to adopt a tentative approach if they didn't want to lose up to a minute in the pit lane changing tyres.

This was of little concern to Davies who was maintaining his advantage back to Melandri, the pair split by around six seconds, while the chasing pack had now dropped to almost twenty seconds adrift.




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Melandri, Russian WSBK 2013
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Yzfstu

July 21, 2013 1:23 PM

Unbelievable nobody was seriously injured in that race trying to carry on racing on slicks in a downpour. I think this one bike rule to save money has been put ahead of rider safety. If there was a second bike in pit lane with wets on nobody would of hesitated to change and probably resulted in more than 11 finishers. Racing is dangerous enough without making it worse just to save money.

Fullofit

July 21, 2013 11:42 AM

That was certainly different, & a bit exciting to watch on TV ... but can you imagine the poor spectators at the circuit trying to figure out who was in the lead without the benefit of timing screens. That compulsory stationary period is a bit of an odd idea / rule. Nothing like finishing your pitstop & then standing around like a spectator until you're allowed to get going again.



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