Baz, Guintoli Survive Silverstone

Sylvain Guintoli (center) held off Loris Baz (left) and Jakub Smrz to win the rain-shortned second World Superbike event at Silverstone Circuit Sunday. (World Superbike Photo)
Sylvain Guintoli (center) held off Loris Baz (left) and Jakub Smrz to win the rain-shortned second World Superbike event at Silverstone Circuit Sunday. (World Superbike Photo)

SILVERSTONE, England – A remarkable day, thanks to the ever changing British weather conditions, saw two French riders on top at Silverstone in round 10 of the eni FIM Superbike Championship.

In the first race, Superbike rookie Loris Baz of the Kawasaki Racing Team became the second youngest rider ever to win at a World Superbike event, with the nineteen-year-old, who started the season in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup, overcoming the changing conditions to win a close run race.

Baz won after weather conditions played an ever-changing role in the first 18–lap race of the day. The first attempt to run it was halted after two separate crashes, and the restart was declared wet, but with a mostly dry track surface visible over the length of the circuit.

Light rains came and went as the lead changed a bewildering number of times, but with a few laps to go the rains got even heavier and rider movements forward and back got even more frenzied.

Over the line for the last time, Baz won by .383 second, with BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet duo Michel Fabrizio and Ayrton Badovini second and third respectively and Jonathan Rea of Honda World Superbike Team fourth.

As Badovini crossed the line he fell on the edge of the track and the following Rea also crashed into Badovini’s machine, but after each had crossed the line. Checa was fifth, but championship leader Biaggi was a late faller as he failed to score.

“At the beginning it was full dry and I was missing grip but when I saw the rain coming I kept pushing to the front,” Baz said. “It was hard at the end because it was wet, but I stayed on the bike and I’m really happy. A big thanks for the team and our thoughts go out to Joan Lascorz.”

In the second race a rider who parted way with one Ducati team at the recent Brno round and found a berth in the Pata Racing Team – Sylvain Guintoli – posted his second win of the year on a Ducati 1098R in horrendous conditions after a delayed and shortened race two.

Guintoli was declared the winner of an eight-lap second race after the rains fell so hard that three rider fell on the same part of the track, and the red flag was shown.

Half points were awarded to the top 15 riders. Baz had been in the lead on the lap that the flag was shown but he had fallen shortly before, so on the countback he was credited with second.

Third went to long time second place rider Jakub Smrz of Liberty Racing Team Effenbert with Aprilia Racing rider Eugene Laverty, who was 16 seconds behind rain master Guintoli when the flag went out, fourth.

Maxime Berger of Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati was fifth.

“What a day, what a last couple of weeks actually,” Guintoli said “It’s been an up and down road after Brno, but I’ve just bounced back quickly with the Pata team and Ducati. I made the wrong choice of tire in the first race, but in race two I went from zero to hero. I was really angry with myself at the start then when the rains came I eased off for the podium because I didn’t want to go from zero to zero. It’s my first win with Pata and hopefully there are many more to come.”

The biggest names were all left struggling in both qualifying and the races as the track conditions shifted from dry and sunny to fully wet, and everything in between.

Points leader Max Biaggi was a non-finisher in race one, then only 11th in race two. Marco Melandri is now only 10.5 points from Biaggi after finishing seventh and then eighth.

Tom Sykes was eighth and 12th at his home round, Carlos Checa was fifth and sixth, despite crashing late in race two, then being included in the results on the lap count back.

Hurry and enter! Winners will be announced Saturday at the Knoxville Nationals finale! Chance to win a $2,500 VIP prize package to the 2013 Knoxville Nationals and be on Donny Schatz’s pit crew!