A dramatically different Magny-Cours greeted Voltcom Crescent Suzuki for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship’s penultimate round yesterday as torrential rain caused chaos on the track.
A strong performance from Eugene Laverty on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R saw the Irishman running sixth for the majority of race two before a crash at turn seven on the 14th lap brought an end to proceedings. Despite an early crash on lap four of the previous race, Laverty re-joined, hoping the conditions would prove advantageous to salvage points but a frustrating race saw him finish 19th.
Having progressed well throughout the weekend, Alex Lowes retired his Suzuki machine on the second lap of the opening race after succumbing to the conditions early in the morning’s warm-up. The British rider was equally unlucky in the afternoon encounter, a lack of grip resulting in his fall at turn 12 at the end of lap two.
Persistent rain created treacherous conditions at the Circuit de Nevers, with 21 crashes during the day’s three Superbike sessions and less than half the field completing the second race alone. Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri shared the day’s victories, with BMW’s Sylvain Barrier and Ducati’s Niccolò Canepa dividing the EVO wins.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki now leaves mainland Europe to prepare for the final round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship taking place at the Losail International Circuit, in Qatar, in four weeks’ time.
“Two non-finishes today in wet conditions really wasn’t part of the plan. It seems that whenever I crash in race one this year I follow it up with another crash in race two! I never give in though, and I’m determined to finish the season on a high note.”
“I’m really disappointed with today. We showed a lot of potential in qualifying yesterday and I had good pace in the wet this morning but the lack of grip in these conditions, and my lack of experience at Magny-Cours in the wet, cost us. There’s not a lot to take from today but we will come back fighting in Qatar.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Very difficult to say anything after a day like today - four races, three crashes and one technical non-finish. I don’t think there is any hiding away from the disappointment of today’s result - in particular Alex has been so competitive in the wet on this bike and until the crash in warm-up was showing that same potential. The Magny-Cours track is like ice in low temperatures and wet conditions, and we didn’t have the package or the luck today to achieve what we should have done, but both the riders are physically completely ok. We will put today behind us, draw from some of the good work across the rest of the weekend and look forward to finishing the season on a high in Qatar.”
Magny-Cours – eni FIM World Superbike Championship – Race One: 1. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 36’45.206: 2. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) +2.257: 3. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +5.954: 4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +15.670: 5. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) +16.149: 19. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +2 laps: DNF Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki).
Magny-Cours – eni FIM World Superbike Championship – Race Two: 1. Melandri 36’25.402: 2. Guintoli +2.669: 3. Leon Haslam (Honda) +16.450: 4. Sykes +20.759: 5. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) +46.689: DNF Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki). DNF Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki).
World Championship Classification: 1. Sykes 378: 2. Guintoli 366: 3. Melandri 312: 4. Rea 301: 5. Baz 282: 9. Eugene Laverty 154: 11. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 126.