WSBK – APRILIA RACING TEAM
APRILIA’S CRUSHING SUPERIORITY IN RACE 2 THWARTED BY SYLVAIN AND MARCO’S CRASH
Portimão – A Sunday with plenty of upsets and surprises closed out the World Superbike Portuguese weekend. Race 1, which started under threatening clouds, had Marco Melandri starting off well and Sylvain Guintoli holding onto fifth place during the initial phases of the race. A few drop of rain then threatened to put an end to it all with Sylvain decidedly fast and Marco slowed by a drop in grip at the rear. The rider from Ravenna continued to push anyway, barely missing a podium finish, while his team mate made up ground and took advantage of the difficult track conditions to come back and take second place.
The conditions worsened in Race 2, forcing the riders to use rain tyres and settings. With the distance reduced to 18 laps, both Marco and Sylvain were cautious for the first part of the race, increasing their pace lap after lap and, after a series of preparatory passes, they found themselves behind Rea who was trying to pull the pin at the front.
With a consistent gap in terms of race pace, the Aprilia riders were closing in for the final attack. Unfortunately in turn 5 during the 13th lap, Guintoli braked on the inside of Melandri but slid, taking Marco down. This was an unfortunate collision that brought Marco Melandri’s race to an end, while Sylvain was able to restart and finish in seventh place.
Marco Melandri: “It is really a shame. After almost making it onto the podium in Race 1 I had the right pace to redeem myself in Race 2. Unfortunately it went as badly as it could and I’m sorry about that because I could have had a really good comeback. It was definitely a lost opportunity, but it is also confirmation of the fact that my team and I are continuing to work together with our sights set on the highest prize. We’ll have a chance to redeem ourselves in the coming rounds”.
Sylvain Guintoli: “In Race 1 I tried to take advantage of the first signs of rain. I was feeling good and had a good pace. But when conditions returned to normal the gap behind Sykes was too big and I had to settle for second place. In Race 2 both Marco and I were clearly faster than our rivals, but unfortunately on turn 5 Rea braked really early and I tried to go up the inside. Marco was on the outside and I lost the front end on a bump which took us both out. I’m really sorry for him and for the team. We had a good result within our grasp. It was simply race contact and unfortunately in these conditions it’s easy to make a mistake”.
Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Director: “That’s how racing goes. We paid for the desire to win of two great riders. These things happen and obviously it’s a shame because we could have brought home a great result and completely reopen the championship. The good thing is that we showed how fast we are thanks to the great work the entire team is doing. They took on a difficult situation in the best possible way, once again confirming how very competitive we are. The results achieved in Race 1 prove it, as well as Marco and Sylvain’s extraordinary comeback in Race 2. We will definitely be protagonists in the championship through to the last race”.