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  • Sylvain Guintoli claims victory after a red flag sees the result declared seven laps early
  • Kawasaki bounces back to complete the podium with Baz leading Sykes
  • Race one winner Laverty causes the red flag after an engine blow-out whilst running second

Exactly a year after his last World Superbike Championship victory, Sylvain Guintoli has returned to the winners' circle after a red flag brought about an early end to proceedings in race two at Phillip Island.

The Frenchman had been leading a four-way battle for victory with seven laps of the race remaining when a spectacular engine blow for race one winner Eugene Laverty - who was running second - forced WSBK organisers to throw a red flag.

Despite the relatively lengthy distance to the chequered flag, with the leaders having surpassed two-thirds race distance just moments earlier, the result was duly called with Guintoli declared as the winner from Kawasaki duo Loris Baz and Tom Sykes.

A fraught race in the early laps, it was Marco Melandri that led into the initial bends from the fast-starting Davide Giugliano and Guintoli, but it wouldn't take long for the Frenchman to assert his authority on the Italian pair, grabbing the lead on lap two.

With a busy chasing pack stretching down to ninth position, there was little to choose between the leading contenders initially, with repeated passes and a fluctuating order showcasing the very best of the close competition.

Eventually the pack would fragment, with the likes of Alex Lowes and Marco Melandri both ruling themselves out of the fight by running on at the Honda hairpin (in Lowes's case, twice), with the front four of Guintoli, Baz, Jonathan Rea and Laverty establishing a small advantage over the likes of Chaz Davies, Giugliano, Leon Haslam and an initially out-of-sorts Sykes.

Having spent the early laps controlling the pace out front, Guintoli would find himself bumped down to second place on lap seven as Baz slipped through into the lead at turn two, a move that would subsequently prompt Laverty and Rea to pounce shortly afterwards too, demoting the Aprilia man to fourth.

Seeking to make it a perfect day with a second victory on the Suzuki, Laverty subsequently relieved Baz of the lead on lap eight, where he would remain until lap 12 when a resurgent Guintoli - having re-passed Rea and then Baz for second - snatched the lead again on the run down to the first corner.

The pass would prove to be the decisive moment of the race as it ensured Guintoli led into lap 15 when Laverty's Suzuki cried enough in spectacular fashion directly in front of Baz, forcing a red flag to be deployed.

With two-thirds of the race having just been completed, the result was declared with Guintoli as the winner, the Frenchman completing a successful weekend that assures him of the championship lead coming away from Australia.

With Laverty removed from the results, Baz picked up a fine second place finish for Kawasaki, ahead of team-mate and defending champion Sykes, the British rider charging back from his poor start - and disappointing first race - to haul himself into the lead fight just as the race was stopped.

Giugliano completed a brace of fourth place finishes on his return to Ducati machinery, with a fading Rea in fifth place from team-mate Haslam, the latter securing his best result yet for the PATA Honda team in the process. Just as he did in race one, Ducati's Davies couldn't build on his positive start as he ended his race in seventh.

Following his off on lap eight, Melandri recovered to eighth position, ahead of fellow Aprilia rider Toni Elias, while David Salom secured a second EVO win of the day in tenth overall for KRT.

Behind him, fellow EVO riders Niccolo Canepa and Fabien Foret finished 11th and 12th, with Lowes having to make do with 13th on an encouraging, but somewhat error-strewn maiden weekend for Suzuki. Sheridan Morais and Glenn Allerton completed the points' paying positions in 14th and 15th.



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