Photo: Five – Two = Podium

05/13/2012 @ 2:50 pm, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

Blurred to protect against spoilers, we’ll just leave things simply by saying that World Superbike’s Race 2 at Donington Park is well worth a watching if you haven’t already seen it. Decided right down to the last few turns, race pundits surely will be discussing the race and its outcome over the next week. Unsurprisingly, geography is playing a major a role in how things are being viewed.

Though in a race where a number of questionable passes occurred, it is hard to single out this one event from the plethora of others that occurred during the race, but of course this one had the biggest effect on the race outcome. Click past the jump for the he said, she said, and of course for some slightly sharper photos. Also, be sure to leave your thoughts on the racing incident, was someone, if anyone, at fault?

Marco Melandri:
“I am disappointed with the result of the second race. I was trying to pass Leon in the final corner, although I knew it would be difficult but I am a racer and I had to try. I ran a little wide and expected Leon to pass me back – finishing second would have been ok for me. Then Leon was hit and he crashed. His bike hit me and I crashed too. I feel sorry for both of us but that’s racing. We now have to keep our heads up high and look forward to Salt Lake City where we hope to be fighting for wins again.”

Leon Haslam:
“Right now I just want to forget race two. I feel a bit frustrated because I was going for my first win for BMW Motorrad – at my home round, but we were denied that well deserved victory. The crash was not my fault at all…Anyway, that’s racing, and we’re now looking forward to the next round. Hopefully we can turn things around at the next race meeting at Salt Lake City. I want to dedicate my race one result to Robert Fearnall, who was a close friend of the family.”

Max Biaggi:
“The last few laps were just mad. With tires worn, everyone was trying to gain positions, shooting through at every braking zone. The last curve gave us second place which is an important result: now we’ll go to Miller to confirm our performance, but we need to improve on acceleration.”

Tom Sykes:
“Yet again we got the holeshot and led for a number of laps, but I was missing a bit of feeling with the wind, which was unfortunate. I managed to stay out front but made one mistake and all the other guys came past at a rate of knots. We didn’t quite have the best setting this weekend but a pole position and two podiums is great for myself and the Kawasaki team. I had the best seat in the house for the last couple of laps, but for me five minus two equals a podium so I’m very happy!”

Jonathan Rea:
“It’s nice to win and, in that second race, everybody wanted to win so bad. It was a crazy race and I made it hard work because I dropped off the group again in the middle stage and then, when I caught the group, I made a big mistake and ran wide at the last corner. To catch up with five laps to go and make up some places and then cap it off with the win was unbelievable.”

Photos: WSBK

  • Keith

    having just watched the race…rea had run more than a few off the line, bumping, shoving them off line then (mind you this is just my opinion) out right punted haslam…he had a bobble/moment lost his line and bermed it off of haslam. Saved his ride (yet again, guy was a pinball out there) while punting 2 other riders off. But, I guess that’s racing.

  • Michael L

    This is not NASCAR. ‘Racing’ is not winning by taking out your competitors either on purpose or through excessively reckless riding, nor should you celebrate stumbling upon a podium finish by such behavior.

  • Bucks Miaggi

    It was the last corner of the last lap, so I think it is to be expected that harsher moves are made. But in my opinion the move was clearly over the top, reminded me of Capirossi back in the day:

    I rate Johnny Rea highly, but he should have known that the line he took was never going to work.
    Anyway, glad nobody got hurt, and what a great race! 5 bikes battling for the win in the last lap!
    Take that MotoGP!

  • Bob

    Michael L, you obviously don’t race.

  • Neilmatic

    Both race 1 & 2 were great races. It seemed that for the last half of the race the leaders were dive bombing into that corner, so crash rather a “race incident” was bound to happen. If you watched the entire race you would have been entertained with how the top five jostled one another position. This incident made for a dramatic end. If it was a movie scene, it couldn’t have been scripted better. World Superbike has the best racing from a fans viewpoint.

  • KevinW

    That final move seemed excessive, Rea had no place to go other than through Haslam. That being said, holy balls it was a great couple of races.

    Also, three riders went down today and no injuries to speak of, something to be thankful for.

  • Would not want to wade into who’s at fault, but you NEVER want to crash a teammate and take YOURSELF out as well. You may not get along, you may be big rivals, but when both of you have to walk back and both bikes come in on the hook, it’s a v e r y l o n g r i d e back to the shop in the plane, though some have been known to get things straight in the back of the transporter . . . .

  • Mormont
    Rea simply took the opening caused by Melandri. The last two corners Melandri took lunges from to far back and never had any hope of making the corner. In the last corner his lunge caused Haslam to square off the entrance, to avoid turning into Melandri, leaving the door open for Rea to get on the inside of Haslam. If it wasn’t for Melandris lunge Haslam would have been able to run a tight line through the final corner leaving the door closed and another BMW one two finish. Melandri may have gotten BMWs first win today but it was at the cost of their second win.

  • Already put my two cents-worth on the Facebook comments to this story, so I’ll copy and paste them here:

    “Melandri had been shoving into Biaggi/Haslam/Rea over both races, then lunged at Haslam into Goddards, forcing Leon wide, giving Rea a gap to go for. It’s a pretty simple racing incident.

    Funny how all these people are slagging Rea off, yet Neil Hodgson and James Haydon (who HAVE RACED AT THIS LEVEL) said they would’ve gone for the gap in heartbeat and any racer would have done the same thing.”

  • BBQdog

    I don’t think it Rea’s fault after re-seeing the video a few times. Haslam went too wide and touched Rea. Rea just kept the line he was riding already.

  • JS

    From Leon Haslam himself – “It could easily have been two double podiums for us. I was in the lead, but Marco got in much too quick on both the last two corners. I didn’t brake too hard and too late, but he came from a long way back and I had to lift off. I went to close the line, but Jonathan was there. Marco knows it was a big mistake. I don’t blame Johnny. Obviously there are no team orders with BMW – Marco and I are both going for the championship, and that’s racing,” said Haslam, speaking to at Donington Park.

    The gloves are off now and I hope Halsam gives no quarter to Marco from now on.

  • Damo


    Exactly, this 100%.

    I urge people to watch the video again. Rea took the gap and was looking through the turn.

  • Spamtasticus

    Rea did nothing wrong. Marco simply pulled another hail mary block pass. This kind off pass, although not the least bit rare and in this race quite common, is a desperate attempt at passing someone that is as fast as you are but makes no mistakes. What I do not like about this type of racing is that it hurts both the rider passing and the one being passed because it slows them both down allowing others to catch or gap them. The only chance of a pass like Marco’s working from so far back is if Haslam is severly dissrupted or crashes. This is bad racing under most circumstances and in the case of these two riders trying to give results to BMW it was an absolute catastrophy. Although not agressive enought for IRTA to sanction Marco I am sure he spent some quality time with the BMW team after that royal screwup.

  • gsp75

    WSBK !!! no other racing can compare at this time, puts MOTOGP to shame. I honestly was at the edge of my seat for the 2 great races.

  • Dr. Gellar

    Fantastic races…both of them! How often in any series do you get 4-5 1,000cc racebikes vying for the win on the last lap!?! Great stuff.. :-)

    BMW…utter joy in Race 1 (congratulations by the way), complete dismay in Race 2. Talk about covering both ends of the emotional spectrum…

  • Gritboy

    Sorry for Leon, but that’s racing. BMW looks to finally be on their game.

  • Sanbornisimo

    One of the greatest races you’ll ever see, and you have to appreciate the inherent drama/risk that comes with racing at the WSBK level. All of these riders know that aggressive riding is a critical part of superbike racing, and that’s all this came down to… no one rode dirty, but all five rode to win the race, which is ultimately why they do what they do…. to WIN races. Awesome theatre, no one got hurt, and everyone’s talking about it…. that’s what defines an instant ‘Classic’!

    If only Moto GP could create such high ‘theatre’…. As much as I love Rossi, I’ll choose WSBK every time.

  • john

    as most have already stated… that’s racing. and that was one hell of an exciting race to watch.

    congrats to my cousin for the win, and looking forward to the remainingWSB races this season, as it is much better racing to watch than motogp (note: moto2 is just as exciting as WSB this year).

  • Clive

    Agree with Marmont,
    Melandri screwed up BMWs 2nd one two for the day. Does anyone remember how he tried to win his very 125GP title? Slowed down from the lead in the final race of the season and tried to run his competitor (Elzamora I think) off the road beacause he had to finish out of the points for Melandri to win. Not much has changed with this guy.

  • Steve Lang

    One of the best races I’ve seen in years with some of the most daring passes and out-braking maneuvers with little or no quarter given lap after lap with four brands in the first five spots racing for the win. I’m going to go watch it again. I had to laugh at Max as he came through who couldn’t believe what he was seeing. I may just have to jump on the freeway and drive to Miller for the next round. Outstanding!

  • I feel like the only one who hasn’t been able to see anything after Phillip Island. The official site doesn’t have the magazine updated since the opening round?

  • Westward

    Clearly it was Rea fault, regardless of what Melandri or Haslem had done. Rea was behind them and he tried to squeeze past Haslam. Rea pulled the same move on the previous corner, coming from behind and nearly stood up Biaggi.

    Rea speared Haslam, it’s plain and simple. Even tea himself was unsure, that is why he did not look too celebratory on the podium. Maybe he was thinking race direction was going to rule on him. That is probably why he and his team were huddled around the bike in parc ferme…

    Personally, I think he should have been black flagged…

    The move was dangerous, and he is lucky no one got hurt…

    Besides the incident, the Aprilia garage schadenfreude celebration was distasteful in my mind. I doubt they could count on such things all season in order to win the championship…

  • Slangbuster

    The tone was set from the last half of the race and while I feel for Marco and Leon, I don’t have a problem whatsoever with Rea’s move. ” Rea was behind them and he tried to squeeze past Haslam” (That’s his job). Rea saw a opening in the last turn of the last lap and he went for it. “The move was dangerous” (The whole thing was dangerous, that’s racing) Rea should get a medal in my opinion for an unbelievable comeback after running wide and off the track (the guy’s a tough little demon).

    You have to remember, these guys are some of the best in the world and race at a level you and I can only experience by watching. This race was nothing less than spectacular with heart stopping and thrilling passes lap after lap and any one of them could have ended in disaster. The front five rode with more aggression than Charlie Sheene searching for his lost bag of meth.

    Frankly, I’m looking forward to the next round at Miller with speeds at or over 200 mph approaching turn one. I have a feeling they will give each other a little more room. Oh, and while your at it, will you tell Marco’s girlfriend to stop calling me and loose my number………