Davies takes the Race 2 win at Magny-Cours – Rea a DNF
West 14th in Superbikes – Mike Jones sixth in STK1000 – Lachlan Epis 24th in SSP
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) took an excellent victory in Race 2 at the Pirelli French Round, seizing control in the opening stages and not looking back from there to eventually cross the line three seconds ahead of nearest challenger Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team). Completing the podium in third was Lowes’ Yamaha colleague Michael van der Mark after a great battle between the pair.
Coming from 11th on the grid Davies charged through the field to register his 27th WorldSBK win in tricky conditions as rain fell sporadically over the 4.411km Magny-Cours circuit during the race. Behind him Lowes and Van der Mark contested second place and the Englishman ultimately beat his Dutch teammate by 1.55s after an intriguing duel between the Yamaha duo.
Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) crossed the line fourth, followed by fifth placed Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
Leandro Mercado (IODARacing), Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team), Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Raffaele de Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) all featured in the top ten.
Early in the race Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) crashed at turn 16 and in the aftermath of his accident Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) appeared to clip Laverty’s Aprilia RSV4 RF. The newly crowned triple champion Rea then went back into pit lane and would retire from the race, whilst Laverty picked up his machine to finally finish the race 17th.
A technical problem at turn 15 for Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) ended his race at the halfway point, when the British rider was in contention for an elusive podium finish. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was an unfortunate last lap crasher.
Lorenzo had a slow getaway initially and had fought his way through to P8 by Lap 2. After shadowing Sykes in P7 he made a strong pass on Lap 7, and was soon on the hunt for Melandri in P6. His rapid pace let him reel Melandri in, and on Lap 9 he made his move. A retirement for Camier promoted Lorenzo to P5, and he maintained his pace until the final lap, when a technical problem with his bike forced him to retire from what would have been a season-best finish of P5.
The next race is set to take place at the Pirelli Spanish Round over the 20th -22nd October weekend, the penultimate round of 2017.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) – P1
“Yesterday was bitter, but today was sweet. This is the best way to put behind us a couple of tough races. I woke up feeling really motivated and I think it showed in the opening laps, as I was making passes and got to the front pretty quickly from 11th position. It wasn’t an easy race though. The rain was on and off throughout, and it was hard to tell where the wet patches could be. It was a matter of pushing hard but not too much, just enough to keep the gap in check, and that’s what we did. Now we’re looking forward to the last two races, the hunt for second position in the championship is still open and we can be fast both in Jerez and Qatar.”
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) – P2
“Honestly, this weekend has been slightly strange with the different weather conditions yesterday and then today with just that little bit of rain and difficult grip levels. I think it is a perfect example of how well the Pata Yamaha Team are working because, although we are still looking to close the gap to Kawasaki and Ducati in terms of out-and-out performance, whenever there is a chance to take advantage of a ‘different’ situation, we have been there. It is a fantastic day for the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team! I am really happy to share the podium with Michael because, like I said, the team have been performing so well and I am looking forward to the rest of the season now! I try to do the best I can in every race and my goal is to try and challenge these guys every week, that is the target and what Yamaha employ me to do. I think if I take a step back, I can be quite happy overall with the season up to now, but as a rider, you always want more and there are some events where more could have been achieved. I still feel that there is still plenty more to come from myself and the R1 and we will keep working hard to improve!”
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) – P3
“It is my second podium of the season and I am so happy! Yesterday in the first race I was a bit unlucky but I scored some points. Today it was good to start from sixth on the grid for Race 2. I had a really good start and fought my way to the front but it was really difficult as there were some big drops of rain falling, so it was difficult to know what to expect. It was good for me to follow the other guys because I could see what they were doing. I was pushing quite hard but I also didn’t want to crash, it was so difficult but I tried my best and managed to stay on the bike. I just focused on finding my pace and it was similar to the guys in front. Towards the end of the race I closed the gap to Alex, but then I made some small mistakes and I just didn’t have the tyres anymore to attack again. It was a little bit of a weird race but Alex and I were really strong today and it was great to share the podium with my teammate. It was not the easiest race to control but in the end, we were both on the podium and that is what we aim for. We have made a good step forward and this result, along with Portimao two weeks ago, shows we can fight for the podium at every round. I am really happy and I look forward to Jerez already. On Friday I was really fast immediately, so I think we have found a good base with the R1 now and this has given me a lot of confidence. Jerez is a special track for me, and one I really like. We cannot wait to go there!”
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) – P5
“It’s been a positive weekend overall. The conditions were not easy and we took home a good amount of points, but to finish with your worst result is never ideal. Today’s weather could have created an occasion for us, but we weren’t lucky during WUP, when a technical problem prevented us from going out. After changing the bike, despite keeping the same setup, I didn’t have the same feeling. I struggled with grip since the start of the race, especially coming out of slow corners, and lost contact with the front. Now we head to Jerez, a track that I really like, and the goal stays the same: to take the top step of the podium.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) – P7
“We chose a harder rear tyre today which did not quite work for me today in the cooler conditions, but the temperature seemed quite cold for the softer compound. After a couple of laps I struggled to get the bike into the turn, and especially out of turns. I tried to compensate in other areas but with a few drops of rain I could have done with that softer compound rear tyre. I am still second place in the championship, nine points ahead, and if someone had offered me that two weeks ago I would have probably taken it. The team has two good riders inside the camp, it is a great team who give us a great motorcycle. It is a big team effort. Yesterday it was the Riders’ Championship with Jonathan, today the Teams’ one and if all goes to plan we will get the Manufacturers one as well.”
Davide Giugliano (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) – P11
“It’s been an unlucky race, because I feel I had the pace to be fighting for a top-6 finish. The realistic goal before the start was to finish between 8th and 11th, but we turned out to be quicker than we expected. It was hard to push when I found myself at the back of the field, because even though I knew I had to make up ground, I was riding on my own so I didn’t know how wet it was on different parts of the circuit and how conditions were evolving throughout the lap. We put together a good comeback, we made some passes and we showed a good pace, so I think there’s a good synergy developing between the bike and myself now. The guys have done an amazing job: I feel that the bike is improving a lot, and that was the reason I was chosen in the first place so I’m happy. The top speed was also excellent today. Obviously there is still a lot to improve, but things are going in the right direction.”
Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) – P12
“The big thing for me today is that, unlike MotoAmerica, the flag-to-flag rule means that even if it’s spitting rain, you can still race on slick tyres. This for me was a completely new scenario, so it took me a while to figure out how much I could push in these conditions. Towards the end, I started going faster and faster and I even set my personal fastest time of the whole weekend on the very last lap. Twelfth place is not bad, but I feel I had the potential to do much better today. I’m happy with what I’ve learned and that I was able to improve outing after outing and race after race. I want to thank the whole team because it’s been another amazing experience and I had a lot of fun.”
Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) – P18
“The rain was coming down the whole race today but we were still pushing. It was just on the limit of not enough rain to make a difference to the conditions, but my crash on Lap 2 was a surprise. When Sykes passed me at Turn 16 I opened the throttle a little more to cover, but I lost the rear and I didn’t see it coming. I got the bike started again and continued, but it was very frustrating to go out so early after a positive race in the wet yesterday. It’s hard to say how far I could have got after a lap and a half. I was maybe a bit too tentative in some of the cold left-hand corners because of the weather, but my Sector 1 time on the first lap was second quickest so it showed we had pace we’ll never know for sure. We’ve made big strides overall this weekend, and the progress in Race 1 was the first time we managed that. There are positives to take from that and with four races left we will work to end the season in good shape.”
Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) – DNF
“The bike felt good today. I started quite far down the grid and my launch was not so great, and I lost time passing lots some of the other riders. There was still some rain on the track but I could still push. I think we had the pace and rhythm to reach the podium today. The bike was setup similar to Friday Free Practice, and it felt consistent which helped me to keep moving forward and making passes. It was unlucky for us that we experienced a technical problem on the last lap and had to retire, because our pace was really good. But we have learnt a lot of new things from this weekend and it is promising that we can race like today. We are looking forward to Jerez, and we are already working hard to achieve strong results there.”
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) – DNF
“Without the incident that put me out of the race we could have been fighting for the win. My pace all weekend in the dry has been a little bit of a step ahead of the others. The conditions were a little intermittent throughout the race, so it is hard to say how it would have gone. But I was confident to be able to race with Chaz. Wet or dry we have set the level this weekend. The good news is that I have had some checks on my right foot and nothing is broken. I hit something really solid on the other bike, as it has broken skin on my foot and it was enough to take my footpeg completely off; the whole set-up. So I am very lucky and it could have been a lot worse. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The team won their championship today too. As soon as I got changed out of my leathers I saw the caption appear on the screen in my office saying they had won, so I rushed back into the pitbox to give my team manager Guim a big hug and say congratulations!”
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