WSBK 2013: Istanbul Race Report

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Eugene Laverty captured a pair of victories at Turkey’s Istanbul Park circuit, twice chasing down Tom Sykes before running away with the win. Sykes meanwhile managed to finish ahead of Sylvain Guintoli in both Istanbul races, increasing his lead in the World Superbike Championship to 8 points.

Because of various injuries, the inaugural Turkish WSBK round featured one of the smallest grids in series history with only 16 riders lining up for Race 1. Ducati Alstare rider Ayrton Badovini suffered a mechanical breakdown in the first race but sat out the second race to recover from injuries suffered in a crash during practice on Friday. That reduced the grid to an all-time series low of 15 racers.

Badovini was joined on the sideline by teammate Carlos Checa who also crashed on Friday, suffering a contusion to his thorax and a suspected broken wrist. That left a starting grid missing any Ducati riders. Combined with Badovini’s DNF in Race One, Ducati was held out of the points for a WSBK round for the first time since 2005, ending a streak of 221 races with at least one point.

Race One Highlights

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The first race started with pole-sitter Sykes taking another holeshot. The Kawasaki rider has traditionally been a fast starter so it was no surprise to see Sykes leading at the start of the race. Sykes was followed by Aprilia teammates Laverty and Guintoli and a second pack of riders including BMW Goldbet‘s Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies, Althea Aprilia rider Davide Giugliano and Fixi Suzuki‘s Jules Cluzel.

Sykes led the first 11 laps before Laverty saw an opening and took over the lead. Laverty continued to pull away, increasing his lead lap after lap for the win. Meanwhile, Melandri set his sights on second place, taking advantage when Sykes had a slight wheelie on Lap 16. Sykes would finish third, but more importantly, one spot ahead of Guintoli to increase his lead in the championship.

2013 WSBK: Istanbul Race One Top Five Results

Pos. Rider Motorcycle Gap
1 Eugene Laverty Aprilia RSV4 Factory -
2 Marco Melandri BMW S1000RR +2.009
3 Tom Sykes Kawasaki ZX-10R +3.432
4 Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia RSV4 Factory +3.919
5 Davide Giugliano Aprilia RSV4 Factory +15.830

Race Two Highlights

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The second race was nearly a repeat of the first with Sykes again jumping out to an early lead. Guintoli followed in second with Giugliano in third ahead of Laverty after the opening lap.

Laverty moved up to second by Lap 3 and then began shifting focus on catching Sykes for the lead. In a repeat of Race 1, Laverty passed Sykes for the lead on Lap 12 before pulling away to win the 18-lap race.

Sykes would hold onto second place, once again finishing a spot ahead of Guintoli. Melandri followed in fourth while Toni Elias, making his WSBK debut, finished fifth in Race Two to follow his sixth-place result in Race One. Michel Fabrizio, who Elias replaced on the Red Devils Roma Aprilia team, finished tenth in both races for Pata Honda where he replaced the injured Jonathan Rea.

2013 WSBK: Istanbul Race Two Top Five Results

Pos. Rider Motorcycle Gap
1 Eugene Laverty Aprilia RSV4 Factory -
2 Tom Sykes Kawasaki ZX-10R +1.708
3 Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia RSV4 Factory +4.052
4 Marco Melandri BMW S1000RR +10.860
5 Toni Elias Aprilia RSV4 Factory +12.171

After 11 rounds, Sykes leads Guintoli 323-315 but the double-victory by Laverty also pulls him within striking distance for the championship at 297 points.

2013 WSBK Championship Top Five Standings after 11 Rounds

Pos. Rider Team Points
1 Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing 323
2 Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia Racing 315
3 Eugene Laverty Aprilia Racing 297
4 Marco Melandri BMW Motorrad Goldbet 290
5 Chaz Davies BMW Motorrad Goldbet 239

[Source: WSBK]

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