Phillip Island WSBK: Melandri beats Rea in flag-to-flag thriller

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Phillip Island WSBK: Melandri beats Rea in flag-to-flag thriller
David Gruz
By: David Gruz
Feb 25, 2018, 4:56 AM

Marco Melandri doubled up in the second World Superbike race at Phillip Island after he beat Jonathan Rea by 0.021s as Eugene Laverty and Chaz Davies both crashed from the lead.

Race winner Marco Melandri, Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Marco Melandri, Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Marco Melandri, Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Marco Melandri, Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Marco Melandri, Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Marco Melandri, Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Patrick Jacobsen, Triple M Racing
Xavi Fores, Barni Racing Team

The race featured a mandatory pitstop, which had to be served at the end of Lap 10, 11 or 12, due to several riders having issues with the rear Pirelli tyres during Saturday's season opener.

While Rea had a good start to lead off the line from second on the grid, Laverty passed both him and pole-sitter Xavi Fores to take first at Turn 4.

The Irishman quickly built a safe gap, but his lead was shortlived as he crashed at Siberia on Lap 3.

A group of riders including Fores, Rea and Davies subsequently started to fight for the lead until the start of the pit window.

Fores and Rea changed tyres at the first possible moment with Davies waiting for an extra lap and rejoining in first place following his stop.

However, Davies fell at Turn 10 shortly afterwards, giving Fores the lead.

The Spaniard was closely followed by Kawasaki duo Rea and Tom Sykes as well as Melandri, but managed to hold on to the lead for eight laps.

He was eventually overtaken by Rea and Melandri at Turn 1 and 4 respectively with two laps to go.

Melandri also slipstreamed past Rea on the main straight at the start of the final lap, only for Rea to come back at Turn 1.

The reigning champion then held on to first place for the remaining corners of the race and looked set to win, only to be beaten by Melandri at the exit of the final turn and lose out by 0.021s.

Fores completed the podium, his second in World Superbike, with Sykes finishing fourth.

Yamaha's Alex Lowes was fifth ahead of Leon Camier (Honda) and his teammate Michael van der Mark, who was only 3.098s behind the winner.

MV Agusta's Jordi Torres grabbed eighth, ahead of Loris Baz (Althea BMW) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti).

Honda rookie Jake Gagne had a crash early on but the American managed to rejoin the race and finish 13th.

Race 2 results

Cla#RiderBikeGap
1 33 italy Marco Melandri  Ducati  
2 1 united_kingdom Jonathan Rea  Kawasaki 0.021
3 12 spain Xavi Fores  Ducati 0.304
4 66 united_kingdom Tom Sykes  Kawasaki 1.488
5 22 united_kingdom Alex Lowes  Yamaha 2.474
6 2 united_kingdom Leon Camier  Honda 2.745
7 60 netherlands Michael van der Mark  Yamaha 3.098
8 81 spain Jordi Torres  MV Agusta 14.301
9 76 france Loris Baz  BMW 14.361
10 54 turkey Toprak Razgatlioglu  Kawasaki 19.785
11 40 spain Roman Ramos  Kawasaki 25.237
12 36 argentina Leandro Mercado  Kawasaki 40.504
13 45 united_states Jake Gagne  Honda 58.923
14 99 united_states Patrick Jacobsen  Honda 1.000
15 50 ireland Eugene Laverty  Aprilia 2 laps
  25   Daniel Falzon  Yamaha 10 laps
  7 united_kingdom Chaz Davies  Ducati 11 laps
  37 czech_republic Ondrej Jezek  Yamaha  
 
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