Laverty & Melandri Split Portugal Battles
PORTIMAO, Portugal – Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri split Sunday’s eni FIM Superbike World Championship event held at Autodromo International do Algarve.
Melandri was the winner of a dramatic race one, which saw Melandri nip Sylvain Guintoli by just .007-second. The margin of victory by Melandri was the fourth smallest in World Superbike history.
Tom Sykes – the only front row starter to finish the race – completed the podium with a solid third place after losing some ground from the top in the final portion of the race.
In race two Laverty, who had to retire from race one while leading with a technical failure, was unbeatable as he led the entire race.
The only rider able to keep up Laverty in race two, at least in the first half of the race, was Jonathan Rea. The Ulsterman was edged out of second place in the closing stages by Guintoli, who completed the third one-two for the works Aprilia team in 2013 after the total domination of the season opener in Phillip Island. Thanks to his ninth podium finish of the season, the Frenchman is still the Championship leader with 209 points ahead of Sykes.
An excessive rear tire wear forced Melandri to ride defensively to a 12th-place finish in race two. The issue that hampered the performance of the Italian rider is currently under investigation by Pirelli.