The inaugural eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Sepang was a thriller with Aprilia Racing Team’s Marco Melandri winning both races.
Melandri’s team-mate Sylvain Guintoli finished second in race one with Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) claiming the final spot on the podium.
Race two was a continuation of the first race with Melandri and Guintoli coming in first and second, while reigning World Champion Tom Sykes finished third.
The first ever race at Sepang for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship provided action from start to finish with Aprilia Racing Team’s Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli locked in a titanic battle for victory until the flag.
The race was incident packed from the start as Loris Baz tangled with his Kawasaki racing team-mate Tom Sykes, both riders falling and taking with them Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki).
With the incident creating a gap at the front of the race, Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri exchanged places at the front with Melandri eventually coming out as the victor and claiming his first win as a factory Aprilia rider. Guintoli was second.
Behind the leading two, a three way fight raged with Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) claiming the final podium spot ahead of Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) and Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) who were fourth and fifth respectively.
Sixth spot went to Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) who recovered from a bad start to get the better of his team-mate.
David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) claimed the EVO honours with a spirited ride to ninth overall ahead of Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia) who was 10th.
Bryan Staring (Iron Brain Grillini Kawasaki) scored points with 13th on his first Superbike start of the year.
Results Race one
1. Marco Melandri ITA Aprilia Racing RSV4 16 laps
2. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 +0.620s
3. Eugene Laverty IRL Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +12.865s
4. Chaz Davies GBR Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R +15.437s
5. Toni Elias ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 +15.723s
6. Jonathan Rea GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR +31.304s
7. Leon Haslam GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR +34.093s
8. Davide Giugliano ITA Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R +35.804s
9. David Salom ESP Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +42.031s (E)
10. Leon Camier GBR BMW Italia S1000RR +49.465s (E)
11. Jeremy Guarnoni FRA MRS Kawasaki ZX-10R +53.715s (E)
12. Alessandro Andreozzi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1m 07.783s (E)
13. Bryan Staring AUS IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R +1m 10.746 (E)
14. Imre Toth HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR +1m 18.143s
15. Romain Lanusse FRA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1m 21.026s (E)
16. Aaron Yates USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX +1m 49.054s
Ayrton Badovini ITA Bimota Alstare BB3 (E) *
Christian Iddon GBR Bimota Alstare BB3 (E) *
* Ineligible to score points, removed from results (Badovini across the line 12th, Iddon DNF)
17. Niccolo Canepa ITA Althea Ducati 1199 Panigale R 12 laps completed (E)
18. Peter Sebestyen HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR 9 laps completed (E)
19. Sheridan Morais RSA IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R 8 laps completed (E)
20. Claudio Corti ITA MV Agusta RC F4RR 7 laps completed
21. Fabien Foret FRA MAHI Kawasaki ZX-10R 5 laps completed (E)
22. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 0 laps completed
23. Loris Baz FRA Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 0 laps completed
24. Alex Lowes GBR Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 0 laps completed
The possible threat of a thunderstorm at Sepang disappeared providing the enthusiastic Malaysian crowd one of the most hotly contested battles for victory this season.
With the air temperature rising, the race was initially red flagged after the MV Agusta of Claudio Corti expired resulting in a small fire that needed to be extinguished by the track side marshals.
With only three full laps completed the grid for the restart was determined by the positions at the end of lap three, meaning Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) was on pole ahead of Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) and Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team). The Kawasaki pairing of Tom Sykes and Loris Baz lined up alongside each other in fourth and fifth with Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) sixth and therefore completing row two.
The restart, over 10 laps of the Sepang International Circuit didn’t disappoint, with the leading five riders locked together until the two factory Aprilia riders eased clear.
Marco Melandri had to take avoiding action as he misjudged his braking point on the second lap, narrowly missing the back of his team mate Guintoli and Toni Elias. Thankfully everyone stayed aboard treating the fans to one of the closest race finishes of the year.
Melandri and Guintoli exchanged places several times on the final lap with the Italian getting the better of his team-mate once again to take a double win on the championshp’s first visit to Sepang.
Reigning champion Tom Sykes made amends after being taken out in race one to take the final spot on the podium.
Loris Baz was fifth, Toni Elias a solid fourth and Jonathan Rea sixth.
Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia) was the best classified EVO rider, racing to 12th at the end of the race ahead of David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team).
Alessandro Andreozzi (Pedercini Kawasaki), and team-mate Romain Lanusse both crashed out without injury.
Results Race 2
1. Marco Melandri ITA Aprilia Racing RSV4 10 laps
2. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 +0.166s
3. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +2.689s
4. Toni Elias ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 +5.386s
5. Loris Baz FRA Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +5.514s
6. Jonathan Rea GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR +7.073s
7. Eugene Laverty IRL Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +7.476s
8. Chaz Davies GBR Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R +11.057s
9. Alex Lowes GBR Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +15.866s
10. Davide Giugliano ITA Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R +16.206s
11. Leon Haslam GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR +16.488s
12. Leon Camier GBR BMW Italia S1000RR +23.820s (E)
13. David Salom ESP Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +30.653s (E)
14. Jeremy Guarnoni FRA MRS Kawasaki ZX-10R +31.266s (E)
15. Niccolo Canepa ITA Althea Ducati 1199 Panigale R +43.009s (E)
16. Bryan Staring AUS IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R +46.127s (E)
17. Sheridan Morais RSA IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R +58.167s (E)
18. Imre Toth HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR +1m 00.017s
19. Peter Sebestyen HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR +1m 03.574s (E)
20. Aaron Yates USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX +1m 13.522s
Ayrton Badovini ITA Bimota Alstare BB3 (E) *
Christian Iddon GBR Bimota Alstare BB3 (E) *
* Ineligible to score points, removed from results (Badovini across the line 13th, Iddon 16th)
21. Romain Lanusse FRA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 6 laps completed (E)
22. Alessandro Andreozzi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 3 laps completed (E)
23. Fabien Foret FRA MAHI Kawasaki ZX-10R 0 laps completed (E)
After 14 exciting laps Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) has taken victory in Sepang, and with it extended his lead in the championship after an enthralling battle in the hottest Supersport race of the year, both on and off the track.
After taking the lead at turn one former champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Team India Kawasaki) was put under intense pressure from Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta RC – Yakhnich Motorsport), Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team), Robert Rolfo (Go Eleven Kawasaki) and Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team), with the top five riders easing slowly away from the chasing pack.
As the race progressed Sofuoglu dropped slowly back as did Rolfo and Zanetti leaving championship leader Van der Mark and Jules Cluzel to fight to the flag with the the Dutchman getting the better of the Frenchman in the final turn.
Kenan Sofuoglu took the final podium place in third after getting the better of Roberto Rolfo, with Lorenzo Zanetti and Ratthapark Wilairot (Core PTR Honda) completing the top six.
Wildcard rider Zaqhwan Zaidi (SIC Racing Team) rode superbly to claim a well deserved ninth in front of a very enthusiastic local crowd.
Both DMC-Panavto riders, Alexey Ivanov and Kev Coghlan crashed out early on as did Fraser Rogers (SMS Complus Honda), Fabio Menghi (VFT Racing Yamaha) before Jack Kennedy (CIA Insurance Honda) took out Roberto Tamburini (San Carlo Puccetti Kawasaki), with Florian Marino (Intermoto Kawasaki Ponyexpres) falling at the same corner seconds later. All riders were uninjured.
Results World Supersport – top 10
1. Michael van der Mark NED PATA Honda CBR600RR 14 laps
2. Jules Cluzel FRA MV Agusta Yakhnich F3 675 +0.018s
3. Kenan Sofuoglu TUR Mahi India Kawasaki ZX-6R +4.526s
4. Roberto Rolfo ITA GO Eleven Kawasaki ZX-6R +4.651s
5. Lorenzo Zanetti ITA PATA Honda CBR600RR +9.187s
6. Ratthapark Wilairot THA Core PTR Honda CBR600RR +12.494s
7. Raffaele de Rosa ITA Core PTR Honda CBR600RR +13.515s
8. PJ Jacobsen USA Kawasaki Intermoto ZX-6R +20.400s
9. Zaqhwan Zaidi MAL SIC Honda CBR600RR +20.579s
10. Marco Bussolotti ITA Lorini Honda CBR600RR +29.038s