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Old 08-03-2015, 01:50 AM   #1
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World Superbike Sepang race report: Rea and Davies trade wins

As if they were good brothers, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) and Chaz Davies (Ducati) traded wins in the Sepang (Malaysia) round of the World Superbike championship. The pair first caught up to early leader Tom Sykes in Race One when his rear tire grip suddenly went away five laps from the finish, then progressively chipped away at the competition in Race Two. In both cases tire management turned out to be crucial, and the pair put on a show, exchanging hard and equally intense moves with nothing in sight but the checkered flag, as both races were decided only during the last lap, or rather, corner.

Rea took first blood passing Davies early on before almost wasting the fruits of his labor in the last corner, where he went wide but managed to successfully cross lines with Davies and get a better drive on the final straight. The Ducati rider evened the score with a bold—though deemed within the limits by both riders—move in the same turn at the end of Race Two, when the two traded paint but managed not to crash, crossing the finish line separated by only 91 thousandths of a second.

“I'm almost happy I didn't win the title here, because my wife and kid are at home and she'd probably not have spoken to me for a week or so if she missed it,” laughed off Rea, who would have become champion if he beat Davies in Race Two given Sykes' below-par performance (fifth and fourteenth respectively). “Now I only have to score six points in as many races. Honestly I think that, if I manage to stay healthy, we can seal the deal in the next round in Jerez.”

“I didn't know I spoiled Jonathan's party,” admitted Davies with a smile. “I think that this victory, given how difficult the track and conditions are for the Panigale, is the most important one of the season. In Thailand, in a similar situation, we suffered throughout the weekend. Now we closed the gap with Kawasaki. I think we're still about 10 percent off, but we made strides since the beginning of the season. My goal is to finish the championship in second position.”

As for the collision at the end of Race Two, Rea and Davies shared similar opinions. “We almost crashed both, but I can't be mad at Chaz, as I would have done the same,” said the Kawasaki rider.

“It was tight, but I had to try it,” observed Davies. “We touched, but I'm really happy we both managed not to crash. We would have had to share the responsibility. Johnny knows those situations, he saw me coming on the inside and none of us gave up. It's the fourth time we challenge for a victory in the last corner this year and he's won three, so I think it's fair for me to take this one (laughs).”

Six-times world champion Max Biaggi took third place in Race One as a wild-card for Aprilia, rewriting his own record as the oldest rider to score a WSBK podium at 44. However, the Roman Emperor could not repeat the feat, as he was wiped out in a first-corner collision with Sykes after getting the holeshot in Race Two.

“I'm much happier than disappointed,” Biaggi said. “I dreamed about the podium, and it came true. I think I could have easily stepped up there once more, given how Race Two unfolded, but it's been a fantastic weekend for me and the disappointment quickly washed away. I'm almost entirely satiated, and I'm not thinking about doing more races. It's better to go back to my duties as a father and husband, before they kick me out of the house (laughs).”

“I'm much happier than disappointed,” Biaggi said. “I dreamed about the podium, and it came true. I think I could have easily stepped up there once more, given how Race Two unfolded, but it's been a fantastic weekend for me and the disappointment quickly washed away. I'm almost entirely satiated, and I'm not thinking about doing more races. It's better to go back to my duties as a father and husband, before they kick me out of the house (laughs).”

To sub for him on Aprilia machinery, Jordi Torres took third place. Biaggi however, outpaced his full-time teammates throughout the day. If he changes his mind, the Italian is more than likely to find a seat waiting for him. Rumors say, at the end of the year in Qatar.

World Superbike Sepang Race One results:
1. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki Racing Team
2. Chaz Davies (GBR) Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team
3. Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia Racing Team
4. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Pata Honda WSBK
5. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki Racing Team
6. Alex Lowes (GBR) Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
7. Leon Haslam (GBR) Aprilia Racing/Red Devils
8. Matteo Baiocco (ITA) Althea Racing Ducati
9. Niccolò Canepa (ITA) Althea Racing Ducati
10. Jordi Torres (SPA) Aprilia Racing/Red Devils
11. David Salom (SPA) Team Pedercini Kawasaki
12. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
13. Leon Camier (GBR) MV Agusta Reparto Corse
14. Román Ramos (SPA) Team Go Eleven Kawasaki
15. Leandro Mercado (ARG) Barni Racing Ducati
16. Christophe Ponsson (FRA) Team Pedercini Kawasaki
17. Gábor Rizmayer (HUN) BMW Team Toth
18. Alex Phillis (AUS) Grillini SBK Kawasaki
19. Imre Toth (HUN) BMW Team Toth
DNF Gianluca Vizziello (ITA) Grillini SBK Kawasaki
DNF Michael Van der Mark (NET) Pata Honda WSBK

World Superbike Sepang Race Two results:
1. Chaz Davies (GBR) Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team
2. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki Racing Team
3. Jordi Torres (SPA) Aprilia Racing/Red Devils
4. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Pata Honda WSBK
5. Michael Van der Mark (NET) Pata Honda WSBK
6. Leon Haslam (GBR) Aprilia Racing/Red Devils
7. David Salom (SPA) Team Pedercini Kawasaki
8. Alex Lowes (GBR) Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
9. Matteo Baiocco (ITA) Althea Racing Ducati
10. Román Ramos (SPA) Team Go Eleven Kawasaki
11. Niccolò Canepa (ITA) Althea Racing Ducati
12. Leon Camier (GBR) MV Agusta Reparto Corse
13. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
14. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki Racing Team
15. Leandro Mercado (ARG) Barni Racing Ducati
16. Christophe Ponsson (FRA) Team Pedercini Kawasaki
17. Gianluca Vizziello (ITA) Grillini SBK Kawasaki
18. Gábor Rizmayer (HUN) BMW Team Toth
19. Alex Phillis (AUS) Grillini SBK Kawasaki
20. Imre Toth (HUN) BMW Team Toth
DNF Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia Racing Team




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