Phillip Island (Australia) – In the unique scenery of Phillip Island the first round of 2013 eni FIM Superbike World Championship proved to be a success, while the Victorian Government announced the GP Circuit will host the FIM Superbike World Championship for a further three years, from 2015 to 2017.
Close racing and high-level competition entertained the 61.500 spectators over the 3 days and provided a remarkable show to the fans all over the world. Aprilia Racing Team riders Sylvain Guintoli (Race 1) and Eugene Laverty (Race 2) got one win each in Sunday World Superbike races, both finishing in 2nd place when not on top.
Aprilia gets 1-2-3 at Phillip Island World Superbike Race 1. It's the second time that the manufacturer from Noale monopolise the podium (first one was at Nurburgring last year) with works rider Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) taking his 4th win of the career in his first race onboard the RSV4, ahead of team mate Eugene Laverty.
Sylvain Guintoli: “It's great to start off with a win! Quite honestly, after the tests I know I could do well and from the start my intention was to give it my all. My goal has always been to win, but sometimes you have to adapt to conditions. In the first race I didn't get off to a good start and I lost a few positions, but lap by lap I found the right pace to move forward.
Eugene had gotten away well and when I overtook him I managed to keep the distance and take this important win. In Race 2 Eugene had a bit more than me in the last laps. He employed a strategy similar to the one I used in the first race, but this is a fantastic result for the team even if we are just at the beginning of the championship”.
Later in the race Laverty had to deal with a confident Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), who closed the gap and had a shot at 2nd place. Laverty waited until the last lap to make the perfect move on the Italian at 'Lukey Heights'.
My Aprilia was fast and it performed as I wanted...
After a competitive first part of the race, Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) struggled a bit to keep the pace and eventually finished 7th ahead of team mate Jonathan Rea.
Two potential contenders for the podium positions got out of the race during lap 13, as Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare), accidentally hit Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team) from behind after outbraking himself, while entering Turn 4.
A formidable last part of the race allowed Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) to get the better of team mate Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team) to win race 2 at Phillip Island. Thanks to this successful effort in the first Round, Laverty is now the eni FIM Superbike World Championship leader, tied up in points with Race 1 winner Guintoli.
The 26 year old from Toomebridge, Northern Ireland, started his final charge on the lead on lap 20 by overtaking Melandri at Turn 4 and setting an incredible 1’31.168 (new lap record). Laverty then got past Guintoli on the straight and held onto 1st place up to the chequered flag.
Eugene Laverty: “We got off on the right foot all the work from the past few days has paid off. My Aprilia was fast and it performed as I wanted it to from the 1st to the last lap. In Race 1 I may have been a bit too conservative with the tyres, still taking a nice second place, but in Race 2 I pushed a bit more decisively.
Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), after a long catch up with the front runners, made a small mistake and ran wide during the last lap, in a desperate attempt to overtake fellow Italian Melandri for 3rd position.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), far from the ideal fitness condition, finished 5th ahead of Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia), Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike).
Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) did not take part to Race 2 to undergo some medical checks at Melbourne, following the nasty-looking crash of the previous race.