2013 Laguna Seca World Superbike Race Two Results: And Then There Were Four

The last world championship race of the weekend would prove as important for the title chase as was expected.

The race start looked like Sylvain Guintoli would copy his start from the first two races yesterday, but both Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes got the power translated into forward movement better than the Frenchman, with Laverty leading Sykes into the first turn. Guintoli slotted into third place ahead of Niccolo Canepa, Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies. Try as he might, though, Guintoli couldn’t pass Sykes on the first lap.

On the second lap, Marco Melandri pushed past Niccolo Canepa, pushing him a little wide. Canepa, trying to recover his momentum, lost grip and went down. He was able to restart, but rejoined the race in last place, effectively ending his Ducati audition.

The front six, as Davide Giugliano joined in the fun, were a tight pack, with Sykes taking the lead from Laverty, Giugliano taking fifth place off Davies and Melandri passing Guintoli at the corkscrew.

Unfortunately, as all the action was heating up, just four laps in, Chaz Davies pulled into the pits on a bike that had given up. Jules Cluzel inherited sixth place, with Roger Lee Hayden in seventh.

At the end of the sixth lap of twenty-six, Davide Giugliano forced his way underneath Marco Melandri in a block pass that could easily have become a block crash, if Giugliano’s bike had been any more unstable on the exit. Giugliano then caught up to the rear of Eugene Laverty whi in turn was locked in place behind Tom Sykes.

At the end of the ninth lap, having tried the entire lap to improve his position, Giugliano performed the same block pass on Laverty that he had previously done to Melandri, only the exit was a lot less dramatic. For the next ten laps, Giugliano would try to pass Sykes, getting in great positions to have a go, but was thwarted every time by Sykes getting better drive at the beginning of corner exit, and braking late enough not to leave a gap into the corners.

During Giugliano’s hunt to try to pass Sykes, Melandri caught up with the front three and set up formation behind Laverty. As the laps remaining diminished, Laverty made a play to pass Giugliano, but, after an angry exchange, looked for a cleaner pass. He found one with only four laps left and set a pace that Giugliano had to slide the rear a little to match, able to keep his distance from an inquisitive Melandri, probing for weaknesses.

On the penultimate lap, after a dozen laps with the front four grouped together, Eugene Laverty patiently made his move and passed Tom Sykes on turn five. Giugliano made his move on Sykes in his favourite spot, the last corner, and tried to catch Laverty on the kinked straight while Sykes attempted to out-drag him. As Sykes fell into the clutches of Melandri, Laverty was able, with Giugliano, to make a break from the third place battle.

On turn five, Sykes finally lost the podium spot, with Melandri sneaking past. Sykes tried to make a scything pass at the corkscrew, but would be unable to regain a podium spot.

Eugene Laverty held off Davide Giugliano’s inevitable last corner attempt with an unusual line that didn’t cost him any speed to the flag, and won the race while adding up the championship points in his head.

The result, with Tom Sykes in fourth and Sylvain Guintoli in fifth, put Eugene Laverty in second place, only 23 points behind Tom Sykes and one point ahead of Sylvain Guintoli. Chaz Davies’s DNF put him out of contention, 102 points off the leader, while his teammate Marco Melandri, closed the gap in fourth to 42 points.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Gap Speed
1 58 E. LAVERTY Aprilia RSV4 Factory   1'23.944 254,6
2 34 D. GIUGLIANO Aprilia RSV4 Factory 0.112 1'23.707 253,4
3 33 M. MELANDRI BMW S1000 RR 2.051 1'23.819 251,6
4 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10R 2.304 1'23.964 255,2
5 50 S. GUINTOLI Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2.959 1'24.169 254,6
6 16 J. CLUZEL Suzuki GSX-R1000 10.187 1'24.207 249,8
7 24 T. ELIAS Aprilia RSV4 Factory 17.789 1'24.556 246,4
8 54 R. HAYDEN Suzuki GSX-R1000 20.602 1'24.245 250,4
9 44 D. SALOM Kawasaki ZX-10R 22.055 1'24.420 246,9
10 84 M. FABRIZIO Honda CBR1000RR 23.472 1'24.849 246,9
11 91 L. HASLAM Honda CBR1000RR 24.118 1'24.746 250,4
12 79 B. YOUNG Suzuki GSX-R1000 29.563 1'25.131 247,5
13 8 M. AITCHISON Kawasaki ZX-10R 32.565 1'25.082 247,5
14 45 D. ESLICK Suzuki GSX-R1000 51.777 1'24.688 246,4
15 59 N. CANEPA Ducati 1199 Panigale R 1'05.824 1'24.889 246,4
16 31 V. IANNUZZO BMW S1000 RR 1'23.892 1'26.788 241,9
17 14 G. ALLERTON BMW S1000 RR 1 Lap 1'26.916 243,0
RET 86 A. BADOVINI Ducati 1199 Panigale R 8 Laps 1'24.925 251,0
RET 19 C. DAVIES BMW S1000 RR 24 Laps 1'24.724 252,2
RET 23 F. SANDI Kawasaki ZX-10R 26 Laps    


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Man, that was the best race I have ever seen at Laguna Seca! While the MotoGP races there usually start off as spectacular as the track itself, they almost always turn into a fast but uneventful procession in the second half of the race. Here with Sykes, Laverty, Giuliano and Melandri it only got hotter in that second half, with those last couple of laps as the icing on the cake...
And as a bonus the championship got closer as well. I assume that although Laguna Seca will be dropped by MotoGP, it stays on the calendar for Superbikes..? Please?

By the way, good run by Roger Lee Hayden on the Jordan Suzuki as well in that second race. I would like to hear his comments about how his bike felt with the for him different Pirelli tyres, and what else they had to (or were allowed to) change for WSB.

Exactly the same sentiments I had when I was watching race 2 between T4 & 5 and thrilled to see RL Hayden's Jordan Suzuki managed close to 150mph like the WSBK regulars. During the AMA race, Josh Hayes' Monster R1 was the fastest down that speed trap and averaged 145mph.

It will be interesting to find out how Team Jordan managed to adapt to Pirelli tyres and what else they did to evolve the bikes to WSBK rules, including costs involved. Good call on the wildcard decision and hope this will encourage more AMA teams to consider in the future.

Awesome that Roger, Blake and Danny all earned points on Race 2. Race 1 was a bummer...

Great racing indeed. Giugliano impressed me, I really thought he would win. He looked completely all over the place at the beginning of the race... it took me half the race to understand it's just the way he rides ! Aggressive rider. Maybe he waited a bit too long behind Sykes when Laverty started to make progress, because he really had the pace to win. Good to see a fast #34 at Laguna by the way !

I finally watched both these races last night and this race 2 was awesome!
I really hope they (dorna) can keep SBK coming to Laguna now that Moto GP is no longer going there.