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Melandri Doubles Up | SPORT | WSBK

Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati) won his first Ducati double after a superb mandatory flag-to-flag second race at Phillip Island, held in dry conditions.

A tremendous fight up front saw Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) lead from his front row start, but only after Eugene Laverty had crashed out of a strong lead. Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati) and Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team Ducati) blasted past on the main straight, on a day when the Ducatis had the top speed advantage on the green machines.

A nine-rider scrap before the mandatory tyre change stop was thrilling for the fans and spectators at home, only dropping fast-charging Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) after eight laps.

Fores, Rea and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK) were the first to pit for tyres, leaving Davies and Marco Melandri out front, and Sykes up to third.

Davies led the remaining top riders into the pits one lap later, but crashed at MG on his restart lap, to no score.

Briefly, PJ Jacobsen (TripleM Honda World Superbike Team) led the race before his pit stop and he would finish 14th. Daniel Falzon(Yamaha Racing Team Australia) was given a black flag for exceeding his number of maximum laps before he stopped for tyres.

Rea set the best lap of the race to that point on lap 13, with a 1’31.004, until Melandri posted a 1’30.848 on lap 15 – new a lap record for Melandri.

Marco passed Sykes and ran him wide into the scary turn one, with the race one winner making up the gap to Rea with relative ease.

Rea, Melandi, Fores, Race 2, Australian WSBK 2018 – Photo GNG

Rea pounced on Fores with three laps to go, Melandri going through on Fores soon after, with Sykes closing in all the way.

Over the line for the penultimate lap Melandri passed Rea, only for Rea to go inside and slam the door on the Ducati to lead on the final lap.

Melandri just made his final pass on the final straight in time to win by 0.021 seconds, with Fores third and only 0.304 seconds down.

Rea, Melandi, Fores, Race 2, Australian WSBK 2018 – Photo GnG

Sykes was fourth, Lowes fifth, Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) sixth, van der Mark seventh – and just over three seconds from the race winner and first time Ducati double man Marco Melandri.

A stunning start from Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) ended up with the Irish rider in the gravel after he had set the fastest lap of the first half of the race. He got going again to finish 15th, but two laps down.

In the championship points, Melandri has a perfect 50, Sykes is second with 33, Rea third on 31 and Fores fourth on 29.

By Gordon Ritchie

Photography: Ayylmao Media

World SBK Race one results
  1. Marco Melandri (Italy)                Ducati
  2. Jonathan Rea (GBR)                    Kawasaki
  3. Xavi Fores (Spain)                         Ducati
  4. Tom Sykes (GBR)                           Kawasaki
  5. Alex Lowes  (GBR)                         Yamaha
  6. Leon Camier (GBR)                       Honda
  7. Michael Van der Mark (NED)      Yamaha
  8. Jordi Torres (Spain)                      MV Agusta
  9. Loris Baz (France)                          BMW
  10. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkey)      Kawasaki



Daniel Falzon  DSQ – did not pit for tyre change on the designated laps

Wayne Maxwell / Troy Herfoss – DNS