Davide Giugliano returned to the World Superbike podium for the first time since the opening Phillip Island round, courtesy of a close runner-up finish in the Sepang rain.

The Aruba.it Ducati rider, sixth in the dry Saturday race, worked his way forwards from seventh to sit one-second from Nicky Hayden and a debut win by the penultimate lap.

But the American responded and Giugliano eventually crossed the finish line 1.254s behind of the Honda rider, who instead took his first WSBK victory.

"Nicky was very fast on the first lap and for me at the end it was too much risk to close the gap," Giugliano told Crash.net. "Anyway, it is a beautiful second position. I want to win, but this result was so important.

"It was very difficult to race without any wet practice. But also a lot of fun! The first corner was unknown, also the second corner, the third corner... step-by-step it was possible to see the conditions and push more. It was a fun race and I'm really happy."

Giugliano spent nine laps behind team-mate and title contender Chaz Davies, finally squeezing past the Welshman with five laps to go.

"Chaz is very fast in braking. It was not-so-easy to pass and I didn't want to f**k things up! Chaz is second in the championship, but I want to go in front and try to catch Nicky. I think I did a good race and at this moment it was so important."

Davies, a double winner twice this season, left Malaysia with 3-4 race finishes, meaning he lost a little ground to Jonathan Rea in the title chase.

"It was a strange race, because with 7 laps to go I thought we could win but the next lap I realized we were in trouble," Davies revealed. "The track conditions were pretty [constant], so the tyres were not too difficult to manage, but we struggled with grip in corner exit.

"I had to work the front quite a bit to make up for that, and its performance dropped all of a sudden. I'm semi-happy with the final outcome. Obviously I would have liked to have done more, but we were in contention for most of the race.

"In wet races anything can happen, and we only lost 3 points in the championship. We'll move forward in Donington."

By Peter McLaren


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