2014 Magny-Cours World Superbike Race One: Beat Your Teammate

It rained this morning but the rain had stopped by the time the race started, but the conditions meant that the race was reduced from twenty-one to nineteen laps.

Jonathan Rea led from turn one, getting an excellent start in the low-grip conditions. He was able to build a gap ahead of a fight amongst Davide Giugliano, Tom Sykes and Sylvain Guintoli. Chaz Davies passed Tom Sykes but crashed out at turn five on the second lap, hampering Marco Melandri's progress as he had to slow to avoid him. Sylvain Guintoli got used to the conditions and caught and passed Jonathan Rea, demonstrating once more that he was one of the better riders in tricky conditions and at the beginning of a race.

On the fourth lap, Davide Giugliano caught and passed Tom Sykes, forcing Sykes wide and making him run off the track. The run-off area was luckily not covered in astroturf and Sykes was able to rejoin the race without losing a place. On the next lap, Giugliano then caught and passed Jonathan Rea while Loris Baz passed Tom Sykes. Marco Melandri started carving through the pack and, after some jostling, Melandri was second ahead of Loris Baz, Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea.

At the halfway point, Sylvain Guintoli had over a four second lead ahead of Marco Melandri and the two Aprilias had a better pace than the rest of the field. As the gap between Melandri and Baz increased, the gap to the front dropped. Melandri had a visibly better pace and cut Guintoli's lead at a rate of 1.4 seconds a lap.

Jonathan Rea passed Loris Baz and settled into a lonely third place with team battles ahead and behind him. Marco Melandri made a very kind pass on Sylvain Guintoli, and led the race four laps from the end, but his pit board was shown with an angry face and a down arrow. Team orders were given.

Melandri waved Guintoli past, in a very deliberate way. Team orders were obeyed.

Tom Sykes tried to pass Loris Baz for fourth pace, but Baz was having none of it and made it clear that if Sykes wanted it, he'd have to earn it, but on the penultimate lap, Baz too was shown a pit board with an order to lose one place.

Sylvain Guintoli won the race ahead of Marco Melandri, playing the part of the obedient teammate, taking, as he put it, one step back to take two forward. He made it clear that this was part of the job.

Jonathan Rea didn't have the luxury of a teammate ahead of him and took the last spot on the podium on his own. Entering the last chicane, Loris Baz slowed rapidly, letting Tom Sykes past as Baz shook his head disappointedly. He too played the role of the teammate and Sykes signalled a thank you, with a thumbs-up and a wave for Baz as he crossed the line in fourth.

Team orders have always been a part of World Superbike, but never before have they been so blatantly displayed. They were used to reduce Sykes's lead over Guintoli to just nineteen points, Guintoli being gifted five points to Sykes's two as a result of their teammates giving them their places.

The French fans got their Marseillaise, but under rather sheepish conditions.


Pos No. Rider Bike Gap Best Lap Speed
1 50 S. GUINTOLI Aprilia RSV4 Factory   1'54.200 251,7
2 33 M. MELANDRI Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2.257 1'54.013 257,8
3 65 J. REA Honda CBR1000RR 5.954 1'55.034 268,0
4 1 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10R 15.670 1'55.426 247,7
5 76 L. BAZ Kawasaki ZX-10R 16.149 1'54.751 262,8
6 91 L. HASLAM Honda CBR1000RR 29.411 1'55.742 262,8
7 34 D. GIUGLIANO Ducati 1199 Panigale R 57.319 1'55.837 264,1
8 57 L. LANZI Ducati 1199 Panigale R 59.306 1'57.372 240,5
9 27 M. NEUKIRCHNER Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'12.274 1'58.056 235,8
10 52 S. BARRIER BMW S1000 RR EVO 1'22.931 1'58.889 248,3
11 59 N. CANEPA Ducati 1199 Panigale R EVO 1'39.670 1'59.920 236,3
12 11 J. GUARNONI Kawasaki ZX-10R EVO 1'42.886 2'00.018 239,5
13 71 C. CORTI MV Agusta F4 RR 2'03.253 1'59.843 248,8
14 67 B. STARING Kawasaki ZX-10R EVO 1 Lap 2'00.733 242,2
15 9 F. FORET Kawasaki ZX-10R EVO 1 Lap 2'03.009 232,3
16 74 N. SALCHAUD MV Agusta F4 RR 1 Lap 2'04.397 240,0
17 32 S. MORAIS Kawasaki ZX-10R EVO 2 Laps 2'00.958 232,3
18 99 G. MAY EBR 1190 RX 2 Laps 2'07.905 209,3
19 58 E. LAVERTY Suzuki GSX-R1000 2 Laps 1'58.221 250,0
20 10 I. TOTH BMW S1000 RR 3 Laps 2'13.656 196,4
RET 16 G. RIZMAYER BMW S1000 RR EVO 12 Laps 2'05.838 232,3
RET 20 A. YATES EBR 1190 RX 12 Laps 2'09.307 230,8
RET 212 X. FORES Ducati 1199 Panigale R 14 Laps 1'56.673 234,3
RET 21 A. ANDREOZZI Kawasaki ZX-10R EVO 16 Laps 2'08.416 234,3
RET 24 T. ELIAS Aprilia RSV4 Factory 17 Laps 2'00.202 232,3
RET 22 A. LOWES Suzuki GSX-R1000 17 Laps 228,3 1'37.270 284,2
RET 7 C. DAVIES Ducati 1199 Panigale R 18 Laps 236,8 1'37.021 294,3


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I'm not a fan of team orders (granted I'm also a fan of Marco so maybe I'm a bit biased). Despite that, it did add a bit of drama to the event, although the rather annoying kind.