Laguna WSBK: Sykes wins first-race crash-fest

Sykes on his way down the Corkscrew to the win
Sykes on his way down the Corkscrew to the win Picture: Stephen McClements

World Superbike championship leader Tom Sykes snatched the first-race win at Laguna Seca at the third time of asking after two red flags stopped the encounter and it was finally run over 12 laps in the Californian sunshine.


Jordan Suzuki’s Danny Eslick caused the first stoppage, sliding off at turn five and puncturing the airfence, while separate incidents for Leon Haslam and Roger Lee Hayden brought out the red flags again. Haslam was helped to his feet after the turn four crash but wife Oli has text bikesportnews.com to say he is ok.


Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli and Tom Sykes had the best of the first two encounters, with the Frenchman clearing off by two seconds in the orginal, but at the final commencement, the pair got off the line badly - maybe due to fried clutches - and tangled on the run into turn two but stayed up.


BMNW’s Chaz Davies made it into the Andretti Hairpin first with Goldbet BMW team-mate Marco Melandri behind him while Eugene Laverty sat behind Guintoli and Sykes, waiting for an opportunity.


It took two laps for Guintoli to try and pass Melandri. He slid up the inside at turn 11 but the Italian shut the door hard and forced Guintoli to sit up, losing third place to Sykes in the process.


The Kawasaki man then set off after Melandri as the diminutive rider tried to find a way past Welshman Davies. Huddersfield’s finest passed Melandri cleanly on the brakes into turn 11 while Guintoli did the same a lap later.


Melandri wasn’t to be outdone, though, and stuffed it up the inside of Guintoli when he ran slightly wide at Andretti with four laps left. Sykes caught Davies for the lead a lap later and Davies then defended his line allowing Sykes to escape and cross the line first to extend his championship lead to 22 points.


On the last lap, Melandri tried a pass on Davies but ran wide, which also baulked Guintoli. Laverty took avantage to move into fourth past his team-mate and then the Irishman put a Marc Marquez move on Melandri at the top of the Corkscrew to grab the final podium spot in a race he said was one of the hardest of his career.


Guintoli had to settle for fifth behind Melandri and loses ground to Sykes in the championship chase while Davide Guigliano, Jules Cluzel, Toni Elias, Ayrton Badovini and Mark Aitchison rounded out the top ten.


Race one result - conditions dry


1 2 66 T. SYKES GBR Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 12 1’23.803 255,8 1’22.698 255,8 25 348 1

2 5 19 C. DAVIES GBR BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK BMW S1000 RR 12 1.253 1’23.852 251,6 1’23.040 253,4 20 259 5

3 3 58 E. LAVERTY IRL Aprilia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory 12 2.454 1’23.814 255,2 1’22.728 253,4 16 313 3

4 7 33 M. MELANDRI ITA BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK BMW S1000 RR 12 2.650 1’23.819 251,0 1’23.363 251,0 13 303 4

5 1 50 S. GUINTOLI FRA Aprilia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory 12 3.430 1’23.829 255,2 1’22.683 252,8 11 326 2

6 6 34 D. GIUGLIANO ITA Althea Racing Aprilia RSV4 Factory 12 3.584 1’23.893 256,4 1’23.353 248,7 10 149 10

7 8 16 J. CLUZEL FRA Fixi Crescent Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 12 9.134 1’24.225 248,1 1’24.079 249,2 9 150 9

8 15 24 T. ELIAS ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 Factory 12 11.252 1’24.162 249,8 1’24.456 243,0 8 29 17

9 9 86 A. BADOVINI ITA Team Ducati Alstare Ducati 1199 Panigale R 12 14.140 1’24.334 248,7 1’24.789 251,0 7 114 12

10 14 8 M. AITCHISON AUS Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 12 17.830 1’25.008 244,1 1’24.364 243,6 6 26 18

11 16 44 D. SALOM ESP Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 12 18.010 1’25.052 245,2 1’25.449 243,6 5 5 26

12 17 79 B. YOUNG USA Fixi Crescent Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 12 21.767 1’25.269 246,9 1’25.661 244,1 4 4 28

13 13 84 M. FABRIZIO ITA Pata Honda World Superbike Honda CBR1000RR 12 22.087 1’25.291 244,7 1’24.212 244,7 3 171 8

14 18 23 F. SANDI ITA Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 12 32.837 1’25.947 239,7 1’25.668 239,2 2 47 16

15 19 31 V. IANNUZZO ITA Grillini Dentalmatic SBK BMW S1000 RR 12 34.267 1’26.676 242,4 1’25.975 241,9 1 26 19

16 20 14 G. ALLERTON AUS Next Gen Motorsports BMW S1000 RR 12 50.167 1’27.748 236,5 1’26.735 237,6 6 25

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