PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia — Aprilia Racing teammates Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli split Sunday’s eni FIM Superbike World Championship races at Phillip Island.
The race started with Laverty moving off well from second position, trying to run away from his opponents. The Irishman was able to keep the gap between himself and the rest of the field until he was caught by Guintoli, who overtook Laverty on lap 15 and led the race.
Later in the race, Laverty had to deal with a confident Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), who closed the gap and had a shot at second. Laverty waited until the last lap to make the perfect move top secure the position.
Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team) nipped Englishman Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) by 0.051 seconds for fourth.
In the finale, Laverty beat Guintoli and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team) to the finish while taking command of the standings after one weekend of racing.
The 26- year-old from Northern Ireland started his final charge on the lead on lap 20 by overtaking Melandri at turn four. Laverty passed Guintoli on the straightaway and held on to win.
Melandri was part of the battle for top-three positions, but couldn’t counter attack his former teammate’’s move on lap 20. After bad luck in race one, the Ravenna-born rider ended up the first round on a positive note.
Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), after a long catch up with the front runners, made a small mistake and ran wide during the last lap, in a desperate attempt to overtake fellow Italian Melandri for third.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), far from the ideal fitness condition, finished fifth ahead of Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia), Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike).
Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) did not take part to race two to undergo some medical checks at Melbourne, following the nasty-looking crash of the previous race.