Heir apparent, Jonathan Rea and Welshman Chaz Davies were the World SBK victors in Sepang, with Davies pipping Rea at the post to deny the Irishman the chance of clinching his inaugural championship before the northern hemisphere summer break. With a lead over second-placed Davies of 142 points, the title is likely to be Rea’s, but he will have to wait till round 11 at Jerez in Spain on September 20 to seal the deal.
Max Biaggi returned to the grid for Aprilia, with the 44 year old taking third in race one and crashing out in race two. He extends his own record, of being the oldest rider to ever stand on a WorldSBK podium.
Australia’s Alex Phillis debuted for Team Grillini, finishing 18th and 19th for Kawasaki at Sepang; while in world supersport, Qld’s Aiden Wagner took 14th on his CIA Landlords Honda, while the Central Coast’s Glenn Scot DNF’d.
“Race 1 went really well, especially considering where we were yesterday, when I was thinking we’d do well to finish top six. Anyway, we made some changes overnight that put us in a position to fight for the win, though we were still missing something in the last laps. Then in race 2 I saw that Johnny was closing in and it took everything I had to hold him off. I’m so pleased about today’s results, obtained at one of the most difficult tracks for us. This shows how much progress we’ve made up until now. I’m also pleased to have moved into second place in the standings. Thanks go to my whole team, the guys have done a fantastic job here!”
Chaz Davies #7 – Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team
Race 1 2nd Race 2 1st
“I’m really happy after a good weekend and happy to go into the summer break healthy and looking forward to Jerez. With three laps to go in race two Arturo my mechanic gave me a bit of a secret signal and I knew if I went then I could catch Chaz. Halfway around the last lap I realised it would be possible. I passed Chaz and went through clean. We had contact but I do not blame him for that – I would do the same – but I almost crashed at the same time. I am really happy because we got another first and second on a race weekend and a bagful of points.”
Jonathan Rea #65 – Kawasaki Racing Team
Race 1 1st Race 2 2nd
“The podium is an incredible result. It is a challenge overcome, the challenge of raising the bar to something that no one had ever done before. My race pace was consistent. After overtaking my team mates I began to focus on Sykes who was getting closer and closer. I managed to catch him up and overtake him right at the last lap. I’m super happy, this is the result I was dreaming of. Now that the weekend is over I can reveal that my crash during the tests last week “gave” me a left shoulder dislocation and an injury that required stitches on my right ankle. It was mainly the shoulder that bothered me, especially in the more flowing parts of the track. But we gritted our teeth and everything went brilliantly.”
Max Biaggi #3 – Aprilia Racing Team
Race 1 3rd Race 2 DNF
Race One: Rea Wins As Sykes Loses Pace In Closing Stages
The opening race of the Pirelli Malaysian Round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Sepang was won by championship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki RT) after a race of two halves saw long-time leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) slip to 5th at the flag.
After 5 laps the gap from Sykes in the lead to the chasing pack was 2.6s with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), who had made the best start of anyone (8th to 3rd at turn 1) in hot pursuit. Sykes meanwhile was the only rider seemingly able to lap consistently in the 2.04s bracket.
As the race settled into a rhythm and with Sykes continuing to pull away the closest on track fight was between the Aprilia pairing of Leon Haslam and Max Biaggi who were dicing for 5th and 6th.
With 4 laps to go it appeared the Davies and Rea’s tyres were holding up better than those of long-time leader Sykes, the pair reducing the gap to less than a second – the race suddenly blown wide open as firstly Davies then Rea passed the former champ.
At the flag Rea recorded his 12th win of the year with Davies coming home second ahead after the pair swapped places three times on the final lap, twice at the final corner.
Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) claimed a historic 71st podium finish in 3rd, the Italian extending his own record of being the oldest rider to ever stand on a WorldSBK podium.
Sylvain Guintoli claimed a season best 4th after his Pata Honda appeared to be kinder to its tyres while Poleman Sykes dropped to 5th after setting a blistering pace that saw him shatter the lap record in the early stages.
Alex Lowes was 6th aboard the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki ahead of Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team), Althea Racing pairing Matteo Baiocco and Niccolo Canepa, and Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team) who dropped from what looked like a safe 4th to 10th in the final few laps.
David Salom (Team Pedercini), Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven) and Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing) completed the point scorers.
Michael van der Mark retired his Pata Honda after running inside the top ten.
WorldSBK Sepang – Race 1
1 – Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team
2 – Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team +0.121
3 – Max Biaggi Aprilia Racing Team +10.695
Race Two: Davies Takes Rea On The Finish Line And Temporarily Halts His Championship March; Biaggi Crashes Out In Race Two
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) has won the second WorldSBK race at Sepang, Malaysia after a spectacular last-lap battle with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), which saw the two riders separated by 0.091s at the line. This fraction of a second stopped the series leader, Rea, clinching his first world superbike title on Sunday and he will now need to wait till after the summer break and round 11 in Jerez to attempt to seal the championship.
Unlike in Race 1, it was Welshman Davies who attempted pull to away from the rest of the field, with champion elect Rea giving chase. The factory Ducati rider managed to keep a fast pace until the last two laps, when series leader Rea began his final charge to the top; after losing the lead in the last sector, Davies hit the brakes as late as he could at the final left-hander to get the better of his rival as the two touched mid-turn.
Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) made the right changes to his RSV4 RF machine between the day’s two races, the Spanish WorldSBK rookie able to lap consistently in the 2.06s bracket for the duration of Race 2 to claim his second podium finish of the season.Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike) scored another fourth position to complete his best weekend of the season so far ahead of team-mate Michael van der Mark, who made up for his Race 1 retirement with a fine fifth as he edged Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) by a tenth of a second.
David Salom (Team Pedercini), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing) and Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven) were seventh to tenth respectively, with Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing) completing the points positions.
Following his return to the podium in Race 1, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) found himself on the receiving end of a collision also involving the still-reigning WorldSBK Champion Guintoli as well as the aforementioned Sykes and Lowes. Unlike Biaggi, Englishman Sykes did not fall off his bike, although he lost several positions.
Having dropped to 17th place by the end of Lap 1, the former title winner began a recovery ride but crashed at Turn 9 five laps later; he remounted his ZX-10R, eventually claiming 14th place.
WorldSBK Sepang – Race 2
1 – Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SuperbikeTeam
2 – Jonathan Rea Kawasaki RacingTeam +0.091
3 – Jordi Torres Aprilia RacingTeam- Red Devils +5.008
World SBK Championship Point Score After Round 10
1. Jonathan Rea – 452 points (Kawasaki) 2. Chaz Davies – 308 points (Ducati) 3. Tom Sykes – 295 points (Kawasaki) 4. Leon Haslam – 259 points (Aprilia) 5. Jordi Torres – 186 points (Aprilai)