VICTORY FOR MELANDRI AND AN EXTRAORDINARY RSV4 ONE-TWO WITH GUINTOLI SECOND IN RACE ONE.
GUINTOLI SECOND AGAIN IN RACE TWO.
Laguna Seca (California – USA) – 13 July 2014 – Aprilia Racing wins at Laguna Seca. Marco Melandri dominated Race 1 and crossed the finish line ahead of team mate Guintoli. A crash stopped him in Race 2 when he was in the lead once again.
Race 1 on the exciting Laguna Seca track was a triumph for Aprilia. Off to an excellent start, Melandri and Guintoli took the race lead in the first lap, taking advantage of an error by Tom Sykes at the “corkscrew”. The three immediately showed that they had a completely different pace than the rest and the progressively opened up the gap at the front. Before the midway point the two Aprilia standard bearers, with Melandri in the lead, progressively increased their advantage over Sykes until, in the second half of the race, Melandri set a pace that his team mate was unable to keep, crossing the finish line first for the third time this season after his double win in Malaysia. For his part Guintoli was able to maintain his lead over Sykes, taking an excellent second place.
The second race was also marked by Marco Melandri’s consistent domination with him taking a solid lead when the race was red flagged due to a crash by Lowes. At the second start Melandri took the lead once again ahead of Sykes and team mate Guintoli, but the race was suspended again because of an accident involving Barrier. For the third start Melandri got another great start in front of everyone and established an authoritative lead. All signs pointed to a second win for the rider from Ravenna – whose feeling with the reigning Manufacturer World Champion RSV4 is increasing from race to race – when a sliding crash 5 laps from the end put the brakes on his hopes for victory. It was a result that does not change the fact that Melandri was a true protagonist of the Californian weekend. With just a few laps left Guintoli chalked up another second place finish which confirms the Frenchman’s great competitiveness and consistency, lying firmly in second place in the Championship standings.
Marco Melandri: “My start in Race 1 was great even if I was a bit nervous in the first laps since Tom usually tries to pull the pin straight away. When he made that mistake at the Corkscrew I thought that was the right opportunity to push it to the limit. I set my pace, staying focused and not making any mistakes. It’s a shame about Race 2. I made a few gear changing mistakes on the third start that made me think there was a problem with the ratios and that cost me my concentration. When I realised that everything was fine I decided to push hard but I went long at the last turn. I’m disappointed because a double win was definitely within reach, but I’m still happy about the work we did this weekend.”
Sylvain Guintoli: “I gave 100% like I always do. In Race 1 I had a good pace and I didn’t make any mistakes. In the first laps I was feeling good and I probably could have attacked Marco, but I preferred to stay behind him. From the halfway point on he was really fast. He rode very well and I wasn’t able to match his times. The red flags in Race 2 reminded me of last year and I thought maybe I could overturn the result, but Sykes is really unbeatable in a short dash. We are definitely in it and we won’t give up, but during the summer break we’ll have to work hard to come back even stronger for the season finale.”
On hand below the podium to comment on the triumph in Race1 of the Italian bikes was Michele Colaninno, CEO of IMMSI and member of the Piaggio Group Board of Directors: “This is the victory of a team which has never stopped believing in results, a winning team in World SBK for five years in a row. Seeing the two Aprilia RSV4s flying by in front of everyone in this country and on this track which has such a great history is a great satisfaction, not only for me, but for the entire Italian motor sports community.”