Welsh rider Chaz Davies took his factory BMW S1000S to his first double victory in World Superbike action at the Spanish Aragon Circuit Sunday April 14.
Behind him, French ace (and British resident) Sylvain Guintoli grabbed two second places to move into the championship lead on his factory Aprilia RSV4, while Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes and Davies’ team-mate Marco Melandri split the third places between them.
Post-race, Davies said, “”For me it is just an amazing day. I cannot explain how happy I am. What a weekend! My first victory with BMW and then the double win – this is something I was hoping to achieve this year but I did not expect it to happen this early.”
His first win had a bit of luck to it, as he headed off with both Sykes and Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty, but both opponents had to pit with mechanical problems in the first five laps, leaving the road clear to Davies’ eventual five-second win.
“In race one, the DNFs by Tom and Eugene definitely made it easier. In race two it seemed that I had a comfortable lead, but to be honest I had to push a lot.” He still had another five-second gap in that go-around.
New championship leader Guintoli said, “In the first race I was a bit worried because I was really struggling, as I had been throughout the weekend … I must thank the Aprilia team, the engineers and my crew chief, Aligi Deganello, because thanks to them I was able to ride very well in Race 2 … the results today are a perfect way to announce the arrival of my fourth child!”
Superpole went to Tom Sykes, continuing the Yorkshireman’s unbelievable string of pole positions from 2012.
In race action, Sykes was in the early chase for the lead in race one but had to pit with a mechanical issue, then in race two he managed third after running off-track chasing Guintoli.
After losing out in the 2012 title chase by ½ point to now-retired Max Biaggi, Sykes is hungry to top the 2013 standings – and after only two of fifteen meetings he’s still got time despite being only sixth in the order.
The 2011 title holder Carlos Checa had an unsuccessful day for himself on the factory Ducati Panigale, carding a seventh and an eighth with team-mate Ayrton Badovini taking a pair of 10ths.
“I had trouble through the corners – in race one I was struggling to find the apex. At a certain point I realized I’d been stung by a bee and in the final laps my shoulder started to give me some trouble, so there were definitely a few problems to contend with … Of course we’re not exactly satisfied with the race results but in these circumstances I don’t think we could have done more here today.”
The Pata Honda squad run by the Dutch Ten Kate team didn’t have a great weekend either, Jonathon Rea carding a fourth and a 15th, while team-mate Leon Haslam collected a pair of ninth places. Both complained of brake problems on race day, after decent practice and qualifying sessions.
The semi-private Fixi Crescent Suzuki team missed their lead rider Leon Camier, out after a practice crash left him with a badly-gashed knee and some hospital time. His young team-mate Jules Cluzel of France did very well to collect a sixth and a seventh on a bike that’s certainly got less factory involvement than any other team.
Certainly it’s early days yet, but Guintoli on the factory Aprilia and Davies on the factory BMW seem to be comfortably grabbing the early lead in the 15 event/30 race series.
World Championship Point Standings (after 4 of 30 races):
1. Sylvain Guintoli, France, Aprilia Racing Team, 85 points
2. Chaz Davies, U.K., BMW Motorrad GoldBet, 63
3. Eugene Laverty, U.K., Aprilia Racing Team, 45
4. Marco Melandri, Italy, BMW Motorrad GoldBet, 43
5. Michel Fabrizio, Italy, Factory Red Devils Roma Aprilia,42
6. Tom Sykes, U.K., Kawasaki Racing Team, 38
7. Jules Cluzel, France, Fixi Crescent Suzuki, 33
8. Loris Baz, France, Kawasaki Racing Team, 31
9. Jonathon Rea, U.K., Pata Honda World Superbike, 30
10. Ron Haslam, U.K., Pata Honda World Superbike, 29
Next round April 28, Assen, The Netherlands.