2013 Phillip Island World Superbike Race 2: A Tight Pack Runs Away
Carlos Checa was unable to start race two, moving Eugene Laverty into pole position and promoting Tom Sykes to the front row. Everyone knew how the tyres would work, freeing them up to just get on with the racing.
Tom Sykes let from the line, ahead of Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty, but it didn't take long for Sylvain Guintoli to carve his way through to second place. At the end of the third lap, Guintoli took the lead ahead of Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri. This trio would stay glued together for the next ten laps, trying to edge past one another as they flew in formation. At the end of each lap, Melandri would try to slipstream past Laverty into turn one, and every lap, Laverty would manage to keep his position, while Michel Fabrizio closed up to the leading trio, intent on repeating his race one podium.
Away from the front, Chaz Davies would take a ride through for speeding in the pit lane. He'd pitted in to replace the tyre he punctured in a crash that put Baz out of the race. Jules Cluzel was fighting with Tom Sykes and Davide Giugliano for a few laps, eventually earning him a 7th place.
On lap 16, Melandri finally passed Laverty and set about trying to trouble Guintoli as Fabrizio set his sights on the Irishman. With three laps to go, Eugene Laverty was able to squeeze inside the Honda hairpin and reclaim second place and setting the lap record on his way to catching Guintoli. Laverty slipstreamed Guintoli and led into turn one with two laps to go and set about breaking free, having the advantage of having sat behind his team mate for a dozen laps and see where he could break him.
Knowing he could “abuse” his tyre at the end of the race, Laverty took a clean win ahead of his team mate, sharing a win apiece in the opening meeting. Melandri and Fabrizio left it until the last lap when Fabrizio fluffed a close pass and gave Melandri the opportunity to put his BMW on the podium, denying Aprilia a double full podium.
As the factory Aprilia team return to Europe with the maximum possible points, their Italian rival Ducati had to rely on Max Neukirchner to score a lowly 11 points. The Panigale may have scooped the Saturday plaudits, but on Sunday, with Ayrton Badovini not starting and Carlos Checa not finishing, Aprilia stole their spotlight.