WSBK: Five-Way Battle in Race 2 Thrills at Donington Park

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With there being heated and close racing at Donington Park for Race 1, World Superbike’s second race for the day was sure to thrill as well, though we doubt anyone could have expected the race we got with Race 2. With the Kawasaki of Tom Sykes sitting on pole, and looking very fast, the Brit was a strong favorite for sure.

Though, no one could discredit the BMW’s of Leon Haslam and Marco Melandri, especially after their strong results in Race 1. Equally always a factor, Max Biaggi on his Aprilia is always a contender, even with the RSV4’s struggling at the English track. With the checkered flag being up for grabs, the only thing race fans were assured of was great racing. Click past for spoilers and results.

Hot off the line was Max Biaggi, though the Roman Emperor’s reign would be short-lived as a few turns later Tom Sykes would takeover. By the end of Turn 1, the race was already getting interesting. Jumping the start, Michel Fabrizio was given a ride-through penalty, while Carlos Checa and Jakum Smrz found the gravel trap after the reigning World Champion’s Ducati touched the rear wheel of Eugene Laverty’s Aprilia mix-apex.

With Sykes, Biaggi, and Haslam breaking away initially, a brutal battle between Marco Melandri and Jonathan Rea ensued for fourth place. That battle would come to a draw though, as the pair caught up to the front group, making it a five-way melee for the race lead, though Sykes remained firmly in control. As the riders shuffled around in their order, it wasn’t until seven laps remained that Sykes relinquished his lead, as both BMW’s mugged past him, putting Haslam into the front.

As Sykes again faded through the pack as he had done in Race 1, the two BMW’s had to contend with not only Max Biaggi, but a very strong looking Jonathan Rea. With Rea putting a hard pass on Biaggi during the last lap, the Englishman had his eyes set on the BMW’s going into the final turn of the race. Squeaking under Haslam, and making contact with his fellow Brit, Rea got clear while Haslam crashed into Marco Melandri, who had blown the turn and was quite wide.

With the BMW riders hitting the tarmac, Rea took the checkered flag, and in the process handed podium finishes to both Max Biaggi and Tom Sykes. A horrible finish to an otherwise magnificent weekend for BMW, Donington Park hosted some great racing, and has shown that the factory BMW’s will be serious contenders throughout the 2012 season. From Mother’s Day to Memorial Day, World Superbike returns May 28th for the US round at Miller Motorsports Park, where AMA Pro Racing will serve as its support class.

Race Results from World Superbike Race 2 at Donington Park, England:

Pos. Rider Team Bike Diff.
1. Jonathan Rea Honda World Superbike Team Honda CBR1000RR
2. Max Biaggi Aprilia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory 0.508
3. Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 2.029
4. Leon Camier FIXI Crescent Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 4.245
5. Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati 1098R 6.595
6. Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet BMW S1000 RR 17.469
7. Chaz Davies ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia RSV4 Factory 17.788
8. Loris Baz Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 21.093
9. Peter Hickman FIXI Crescent Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 21.866
10. Hiroshi Aoyama Honda World Superbike Team Honda CBR1000RR 22.62
11. Niccolò Canepa Red Devils Roma Ducati 1098R 26.764
12. Lorenzo Zanetti PATA Racing Team Ducati 1098R 27.043
13. Michel Fabrizio BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet BMW S1000 RR 28.39
14. Mark Aitchison Grillini Progea Superbike Team BMW S1000 RR 56.618
15. Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S1000 RR 80.196
RET Marco Melandri BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S1000 RR
RET Leandro Mercado Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R’
RET Gary Mason Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R
RET Maxime Berger Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati 1098R
RET Davide Giugliano Althea Racing Ducati 1098R
RET Eugene Laverty Aprilia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory
RET Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 1098R
RET Jakub Smrz Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati 1098R

Source: WSBK; Photo: Honda