MONZA, Italy – Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri split Sunday’s Eni FIM Superbike World Championship races at Autodromo Nazionale.
Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) came out on top of a thrilling battle during race one of the double dip, holding off Tom Sykes and Laverty in a thrilling 18-lap battle.
The 11th race win for the home rider – his maiden on the Italian track – was a perfect display of racecraft. Melandri entered the final lap in third position and immediately overtook Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) at turn one, then made a successful move on Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) for the lead.
The works Aprilia Rider regained first position at the “Ascari” chicane, but the eventual winner was not happy with second place and got along the inside of the Irishman at the last turn, while Sykes tried to take advantage to snatch the victory over both rivals.
The three riders crossed the line side by side, with Melandri winning by .085-second over Sykes and by .107-second on Laverty.
Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) was part of the contention for the win but lost ground in the closing stages to finish fourth.
In round two Laverty took his revenge over Melandri. The Irishman grabbed the lead on the penultimate lap and defended the position from Melandri, who set the fastest lap of the race right before the checkered flag in 1:42.379.
With his third race win of 2013, Laverty equals the same number of victories achieved in the past two seasons to close the gap on the championship leader Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) to 13 points, with Sykes third at 18 points from the top.
The Kawasaki Racing Team rider completed the podium ahead of Guintoli, as both riders were part of the four-way battle that characterised most of the 18-lap race.