2015 Sepang World Superbike Race Two Results: Sepang Surprises, No Rain Just Exciting Racing

With the first two races today being exciting ones, the third race didn't need to be exciting for this year to be better than last year. But it was.

Max Biaggi lunged for the lead at turn one but went wide. Chaz Davies took the gap and the lead and was followed through by Sylvain Guintoli, but as they exited the turn, Guintoli pushed Max Biaggi who hit Tom Sykes. Biaggi crashed out while Sykes recovered in seventeenth place. Alex Lowes managed to avoid the mess and ended up behind Sykes with a long battle ahead.

Jonathan Rea took second place from Sylvain Guintoli with Jordi Torres and Michael van der Mark taking fourth then fifth place from Leon Haslam. Unlike race one, Rea couldn't keep up with Davies and the gap to first place grew by a few tenths a lap. Torres took third off Guintoli into lap three while Sykes scythed through the slower riders to eleventh place.

Five laps in, with Davies over a second ahead of Rea, and Tom Sykes recovering to eight place, the chances of Rea winning the title this weekend were diminishing. He needed to finish ahead of Davies and eleven points ahead of Sykes. A lap later, Rea now two seconds behind Davies as Tom Sykes took seventh place, the chances were slipping away.

Then, Tom Sykes lost front grip at turn five and dropped his bike. He recovered in nineteenth place and would have it all to do again. Rea's luck changed dramatically.

Chaz Davies, however, had different plans. At half race distance, Davies had a two and a half second lead over Rea, himself around a second and a half ahead of Jordi Torres. Torres in third had built a cushion of over four seconds from Sylvain Guintoli in fourth and looked to be set to match his best ever result in the championship, closer to the leaders than he'd ever been.

As Tom Sykes caught Christophe Ponsson and passed him for fifteenth position and a point, Chaz Davies noticed his tyres dropping off, at the same time as in every test and race he'd done at this track. His pace dropped a little and Jonathan Rea in second place maintained his pace, his smoother style kinder on the tyres.

Rea had settled for second place, knowing that this would postpone his championship another seven weeks, in Jerez, Spain on the other side of the summer break, but then he saw the gap closing. His team pointed out the drop in Davies's pace and he decided to go for it. Even if he crashed out, with Sykes only due a point or two, he had enough of a points lead to have a go.

With two laps to go, Davies had a two and a half second lead. A lap later, that was halved. A sector later, half a second off, another sector, another half second. Rea passed Davies on the back straight and once again, it would come down to the last corner on the last lap.

Rea went in first, sideways but there was enough of a gap for Davies to be in front by a few inches at the apex.

The pair collided.

Both riders steeled themselves and charged for the corner exit, recovering from the impact immediately. Davies ahead, he drifted inwards on the outside of the exit of the corner, removing the faster line from Rea's list of options so Rea took to the pit lane entrance to widen his exit line, but it was not enough. Once more Chaz Davies made good use of the Ducati Panigale's new exhaust system and powered to the flag, winning by nine hundredths of a second, the exact same as the World Supersport was won by.

Chaz Davies won the race and took second place off Tom Sykes in the championship chase and, in doing so, held Jonathan Rea off from winning the title by six points. Jordi Torres in third finished just five seconds from Davies and, equalling his best result of the year, finished closer to victory than he'd ever been. Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark in fourth and fifth gave Honda their best race since Assen and Guintoli's best result of the year.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Gap Best Lap Speed
1 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale R   2'04.707 300,0
2 65 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10R 0.091 2'04.730 303,4
3 81 J. TORRES Aprilia RSV4 RF 5.008 2'05.012 310,3
4 1 S. GUINTOLI Honda CBR1000RR SP 13.130 2'05.660 299,2
5 60 M. VD MARK Honda CBR1000RR SP 15.801 2'05.443 300,8
6 91 L. HASLAM Aprilia RSV4 RF 15.970 2'05.533 305,1
7 44 D. SALOM Kawasaki ZX-10R 24.561 2'06.251 299,2
8 22 A. LOWES Suzuki GSX-R1000 26.526 2'06.099 300,8
9 15 M. BAIOCCO Ducati Panigale R 28.528 2'06.454 299,2
10 40 R. RAMOS Kawasaki ZX-10R 31.598 2'06.431 296,7
11 59 N. CANEPA Ducati Panigale R 33.568 2'06.038 295,1
12 2 L. CAMIER MV Agusta F4 RR 34.806 2'06.581 296,7
13 14 R. DE PUNIET Suzuki GSX-R1000 46.521 2'06.454 301,7
14 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10R 48.964 2'05.015 305,1
15 36 L. MERCADO Ducati Panigale R 49.865 2'05.862 301,7
16 23 C. PONSSON Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'04.171 2'08.228 288,0
17 45 G. VIZZIELLO Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'24.837 2'09.478 285,0
18 75 G. RIZMAYER BMW S1000 RR 1'25.068 2'09.536 294,3
19 48 A. PHILLIS Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'34.051 2'10.253 283,5
20 10 I. TOTH BMW S1000 RR 2'00.907 2'12.012 292,7

 

Round Number: 
10
2015
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Comments

all three races were spectacular & had me yelling at the computer screen. very exciting. i still find it disturbing to see how empty the grandstands seats are in comparison to motogp or f1. the reasons why have been discussed on this website, but it's sad to see especially considering how good the races are. i wonder what the racers think when they see the empty seats. anyway.......

Yep, noticed that yet again. Shame, as the Thai round seemed well attended.

I do rather fear for the future of this sport.

That was a great race. On a side note, I never want to see riders crash, but in the case of Biaggi I have to admit I wasn't too upset. Testing for Aprilia at Sepang for four days and then not wanting to share his data with the Red Devils? Get outta there.

Great report on a race which always turned around when it was starting to look as if it would turn processional.
One thing, the winning margin was 9 edit:thousandths (I also got it wrong!) hundredths not tenths.

Rea has been a cut above everyone else this year and those two races were another example. He seems to have an almost 6th sense of how to extract the most out of the tyres right to the finish line.

I knew it was hundredths, I don't know why on earth I wrote tenths! Thanks for spotting this.

Can't help feeling sorry for Tom Sykes though. I can't remember the last person I saw with that much bad luck.

In race two, sure. But shredding your tires in 8 laps doesn't really count as bad luck for me. Sucks if Sykes can't adjust his riding style, but over all it just seems like Rea is a smarter racer.

True, thought I thought it was more like 15 laps so a luckier rider might have just got away with it. But he always seems to have something go wrong and his position relative to Rea belies his ability. You can't be that good, and that experienced for it to all be down to naïveté.

I agree Slowgeek, Jared is a terrific race reporter - totally different style to David, but both styles really capture the racing and put you there at the track.

Good work by Rea and Davies, bad luck for Sykes - I guess Biaggi is off his christmas card list.

I'm a big fan of Tom. When he's really on it, head, body and bike always in line, giving everything for a fast lap, I don't think there's a braver, better rider to watch. And I think he's the fastest rider out there, way faster than Rea, as his Superpole premacy indicates. But why can't he turn his pace into race wins? Set-up, tyres, electronics, attitude, riding style, something else - any ideas? I fear for his ride if he can't address the problem, don't you?

After the furor surrounding the last corner at Assen, it's interesting there hasn't been a squeak of controversy over the Rea/Davies bump at Sepang.
Is this because Davies appeared to be under control? Because Rea had no corner to cut to the flag? Because the winner wasn't Rossi? Or because the loser wasn't Marquez?

Because both riders went into the corner knowing what would happen, plus Davies got his wheel in front before the contact was made. 

Basically, what happened was Superbike racing. 

Thanks - the wheel-in-front element makes total sense to me. Both Rea and Davies seemed pretty nonchalant about the Sepang contact - so why all that Assen aggravation?