2018 Chang Thailand World Superbike Race Two Results: Of Seat Pads And Rear Ends

Twenty laps at high speed through an oppressive Thai heat, World Superbike's second race of the weekend would use the reverse grid set by the results of the first race at the Chang International Circuit, Buriram. 

Pole position man Leon Camier and second-placed Alex Lowes were followed into turn one by Michael van der Mark from the second row as Tom Sykes fell back from the front row, but everything would change by turn three, with van der Mark and Lowes pushing Camier to third ahead of Marco Melandri, Eugene Laverty and Jonathan Rea. Melandri passed Camier on the first lap as Rea carved his way through the pack to sit in fourth place at the start of the second lap and take third place at turn nine. At the end of the lap, Rea messed up the last corner and threw away his hard work to fall back to fifth place behind Chaz Davies. 

On the third lap, Michael van der Mark took the lead from his teammate into turn three while Davies continued his charge, setting the fastest lap while climbing to third place. A lap later, Rea took fourth place in the leading group of seven riders, with the first proper gap being under a second between seventh placed Xavi Fores and eighth placed Eugene Laverty. That gap disappeared at the start of lap five, with the leading nine riders all within the clean air of the rider in front of them. 

Marco Melandri came into the weekend with a problem at the rear end of his Ducati Panigale, with his small stature making him unable to shift his weight over the rear tyre. To this end, the team put a huge block of foam at the back wall of his seat, giving him something to push against in an attempt to help him stop his bike bucking on fast straights. 

It didn't work.

On the long kinked straight between turns one and three, Melandri's Ducati danced on its rear tyre in a way that wasn't as amusing as it was at the shorter Phillip Island, frustrating the Italian who had to try to tame the rear with the throttle, limiting his chances at passing bikes in top gear. 

Jordi Torres and Eugene Laverty, having caught up to the leading group of seven, both crashed between turns six and seven on lap five, bringing out yellow flags as the marshals made sure the riders were ok, limiting overtaking on lap six when things started getting interesting at the front. At turn four, Alex Lowes and Chaz Davies swapped places back and forth with Davies taking second place from the Yamaha man at turn five and holding it past the yellow flags where Lowes couldn't snatch his place back. Much further back, Tom Sykes was struggling, dropping from fourteenth place to fifteenth until the Englishman eventually pitted in, parking his Kawasaki and heading for the airport.

Chaz Davies repeated his turn four move on Michael van der Mark and took the lead on lap eight. There was finally a gap between the front two and third place, and on lap nine Xavi Fores would charge from sixth to fourth, passing Jonathan Rea into turn one and blasting past a wobbling Melandri in the fast section. Michael van der Mark set the fastest lap behind Davies as the pair kept the pace up at the front. 

Gaps started widening as Alex Lowes and Xavi Fores broke away from the fight between Marco Melandri and Jonathan Rea and the pair fought over fifth place, swapping places at turn one, the chicane section and twice at turn twelve and getting caught by Leon Camier for their troubles.

Chaz Davies set the fastest lap on lap eleven while Leon Camier passed Marco Melandri. More gaps started springing up, with Davies and van der Mark clear of Lowes who had a fluctuating gap from Fores who was three seconds clear of Rea who was breaking away from Camier who had an increasing gap from Melandri who was six seconds free of eighth-placed Toprak Razgatlioglu. 

Eventually, Michael van der Mark had to cry uncle and let Chaz Davies run away on his own at the front as all riders in the top eight had substantial gaps, with only Jonathan Rea making any moves, converting a three second gap from Xavi Fores into a fight for fourth place over four laps, with Rea entering the last lap over a second and a half clear of Fores. 

Chaz Davies took Ducati's first ever win at this track ahead of the Yamahas of Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes. Jonathan Rea took the championship lead from macro Melandri with his fourth place, while Xavi Fores was once again first independent rider, ahead of Leon Camier and Marco Melandri.


Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale R  
2 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 2.185
3 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 3.884
4 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR 6.554
5 12 X. FORES Ducati Panigale R 8.973
6 2 L. CAMIER Honda CBR1000RR 10.647
7 33 M. MELANDRI Ducati Panigale R 17.523
8 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 21.618
9 32 L. SAVADORI Aprilia RSV4 RF 25.345
10 99 P. JACOBSEN Honda CBR1000RR 27.076
11 68 Y. HERNANDEZ Kawasaki ZX-10RR 28.668
12 76 L. BAZ BMW S 1000 RR 29.004
13 40 R. RAMOS Kawasaki ZX-10RR 30.434
14 45 J. GAGNE Honda CBR1000RR 30.527
RET 36 L. MERCADO Kawasaki ZX-10RR 18
RET 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 13 Laps
RET 50 E. LAVERTY Aprilia RSV4 RF 16 Laps
RET 81 J. TORRES MV Agusta 1000 F4 16 Laps
DSQ 37 O. JEZEK Yamaha YZF R1 15 Laps
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We also don’t put spoilers in the précis, so the front page is spoiler-free. 😎

Great to see Yamaha and Honda much closer to the pace!  Gagne is struggling though, two last places, 38 and 30sec from the front in each of these races.  Nothing worse than racing under pressure but he's gonna have to find something.

After 4 race, he's 31 points from "Perfect". To put it in perspective -

in 2015 he didn't reach that # until 17 races (34 off perfect)

in 2016 he didn't reach that # until 11 races (34 off perfect)

in 2017 he didn't reach that # until 11 races (40 off Perfect)

It's good to see the technical changes they've made actually making the racing more competitive.

What happened there? The Dorna feed completely missed it somehow, but it looked fairly serious, with Laverty not getting up for a while.

That sounds painful, and likely to keep him off the bike for quite a while. Wish him the best, he seemed to be off to a good start.