It was a wild and wooly pair of World Superbike races in on-again, off-again wet conditions at the English Silverstone circuit August 5.
The action left Aprilia ace Max Biaggi still on top of the WSB standings in spite of crashing out of one race and finishing 11th in the other. It didn’t hurt that only half-points were awarded for the shortened second leg of the races for the second time this year (Monza in Italy being the first).
Star of the weekend was Loris Baz, the French teenager having been drafted in to the Kawasaki team to partner Tom Sykes after Joan Lacorsz’s terrible accident earlier this year. In only his 11th and 12th WSB appearances, the youngster took his first win and backed it up with a second place in the next contest.
Admittedly, he crashed out of Race 2 – after grabbing the lead again – and got his second spot because the conditions were so bad the race was red-flagged and the results put back a lap. Still, it’s a seriously impressive pair of results, both for Baz and for the Kawasaki team.
Kawasaki team leader Tom Sykes, third overall in the standings, had his own problems on race day. A rebuilt bike in race one with settings that didn’t work well held him back to eighth, and in the second race he was one of three riders to crash on a mess of water, fuel, and oil that caused the race stoppage.
Behind Baz in race one came the BMW Italia riders, Michel Fabrizio and Ayrton Badovini, both benefiting from last-lap carnage in the tricky conditions. The top five was rounded out by Irishman Jonathon Rea on the Castrol Ten Kate Honda and 2011 series champion Carlos Checa on his Althea Ducati.
In an appropriate comment on the conditions, Badovini and Rea both crashed, but after they’d taken the flag – Badovini touched the edge of the track and went down and Rea couldn’t avoid hitting him. Both riders were okay despite the high speed incident (more than 160 km/h).
In race two, the win went to Sylvain Guintoli, who recently split from the Effenbert-Liberty Ducati squad over money squabbles and joined the PATA Ducati team. A win on his first outing with the team certainly didn’t hurt the new relationship. Baz was awarded second in spite of his crash, and third went to Guintoli’s former Effenbert-Liberty team-mate Jakub Smrz, who also crashed on the red-flagged lap. Eugene Laverty took his factory Aprilia to fourth, while Maxime Berger got his Effenbert Liberty Ducati to fifth.
Canada’s Brett McCormick, still not completely recovered from his serious neck and hand injuries, practiced on his Effenbert-Liberty Ducati, but wisely opted not to race in the vicious conditions in his first time back on track in two months. The Saskatoon rider has another three weeks to recuperate before the next race, set to be held at a new track in Moscow, Russia.
World Championship Point Standings (after 20 of 28 races)
- Max Biaggi, Italy, Aprilia Factory Racing, 274 points
- Marco Melandri, Italy, BMW Motorrad Motorsport, 263.5
- Tom Sykes, United Kingdom, Kawasaki Factory Racing, 222.5
- Carlos Checa, Spain, Althea Ducati, 220.5
- Jonathon Rea, U.K., Castrol Ten Kate Honda, 203.5
- Leon Haslam, U.K., BMW Motorrad Motorsport, 170
- Eugene Laverty, U.K., Aprilia Factory Racing, 160.5
- Sylvain Guintoli, France, PATA Ducati, 122.5
- Michel Fabrizio, Italy, BMW Italia GOLDBET, 108.5
- Davide Giugliano, Italy, Althea Ducati,106
Next event, August 26 Moscow, Russia