WSBK (Italy & UsA)
It was quite an exceptional win for Tom Sykes in race one and a glide to the top spot for Melandri in race two in Misano.
The first race of the Italian round turned out to be a bizarre one thanks to last-lap crashes that saw the emergence of an unlikely winner. As the race got under way, Michael van der Mark of Pata Yamaha led for a good 13 laps, having taken the lead from Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea on lap two. Unfortunately, he ran out of luck on lap 15 as he crashed out due to tyre issues. This gave the lead to Rea, who maintained it nicely for five laps before Aruba.it Ducati’s Chaz Davies made his move on lap 19. Davies took the lead only to lose it on the last lap after Davies low-sided in C13.
Rea was right behind Davies when the Welsh rider lost the front end of his Ducati, leaving no space for Rea to go, which resulted in the Kawasaki rider colliding with the back of the Ducati. With Davies and Rea down, the second Kawasaki rider, Tom Sykes, went on to lead the race from P4. He eventually finished first, followed by Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes in second. Rea somehow managed to get back on the bike and take the final podium place. Post-race, in true sportsman spirit, Rea did check on Davies to see if his archrival was all right. Davies was taken to the medical centre as a precautionary measure.
The second event of the weekend was a comeback race for Aruba.it Ducati’s Marco Melandri who crashed out of race one on the very last lap. The race started with Xavi Forés of Barni Racing Team leading, followed by Jordi Torres of Althea BMW and the Kawasaki duo of Sykes and Rea. On lap six, however, Forés retired due to mechanical issues, handing the lead to Torres. By now, Marco Melandri, who was running fifth earlier, had moved up to third after fighting with the Kawasaki duo. He was now chasing Torres for the lead. Their duel continued for eight laps before Torres retired due to a mechanical failure. This saw the Italian lead the race and eventually win it with a margin of 1.1 seconds. Melandri’s win in Misano was also special as it was his first win since 2014 and that too on his home ground. The final two places on the podium were occupied by Rea and Sykes respectively.
It was green versus red in America at the legendary Mazda Speedway in Laguna Seca as the Kawasaki Racing Team duo, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes, went up against Aruba.it Ducati rider Chaz Davies.
After a disappointing weekend in Misano, Ducati’s Chaz Davies made a superb comeback in the opening event. In his typical style, Tom Sykes was the fastest from the lights, slipping into the lead. And following him was his team-mate and reigning champion, Jonathan Rea, in second and Chaz Davies in third. On lap two, however, Rea ran wide, which saw Davies pick up a place and slip into second.
It was on lap 11 that Davies made a bold move which pushed Rea wide, allowing the Welsh rider to go through and take the lead. Rea also gained a place when his team-mate ran wide. After this, Davies defended his lead flawlessly. Rea tried his best to reel in the Ducati rider and take the lead but, eventually, it was Davies who won the race in superb style. Rea was able to bring his Ninja home in second, a second behind Davies, whereas his team-mate, Sykes, completed the podium by crossing the finish line almost six seconds later.
After an interesting and exciting race one, it was time for the final event of the weekend. As the lights went out, the Kawasaki duo went from the middle of the pack to the front by the end of lap one. Race one winner Chaz Davies had some trouble navigating through the traffic ahead, though. He was running the same pace as Rea, but Davies took six laps to catch up with the Kawasaki duo. By then, Rea and Sykes were already a couple of seconds ahead of Davies. He tried his best but could notbridge the gap. Eventually, Rea won the race, extending his championship lead. Tom Sykes brought his Ninja home in second and the final podium place went to Chaz Davies.
Melandri’s win in race two was his first since 2014
Despite the odds, Chaz Davies went on to win race one