AT PORTIMÃO LAVERTY WINS RACE 2 AHEAD OF TEAM MATE GUINTOLI
SYLVAIN GUINTOLI STRENGTHENS HIS LEADERSHIP IN THE RIDER CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
APRILIA DOMINATES THE MANUFACTURER CHAMPIONSHIP
An absolutely brilliant weekend for Aprilia as they take a fantastic double win on the Portuguese Portimão track: in Race 2 Laverty won ahead of his team mate Guintoli, who strengthens his hold on the championship leadership, thanks in part to the second place he took in race 1. With this victory Laverty clinches third place in a world championship that is quickly becoming an Aprilia branded event. Only hard luck kept the spoils from being even richer. In fact, in Race 1 Laverty was held up by a technical problem while leading a race at a pace impossible for his rivals to match.
In a Race 1 full of surprises, Eugene Laverty took the lead in the sixth lap, widening the gap in front of the pack. Only a technical problem stopped his progress in the eleventh lap. The rest of the race was centred on Sylvain Guintoli’s great comeback, skilfully looking after his tyres during the first laps, keeping a consistent pace after the halfway point of the race until reaching the lead. A long battle with Melandri ended only under the chequered flag, with Sylvain overtaken by the rider from Ravenna by only 7 thousandths of a second.
The script for Race 2 had Eugene Laverty running away from the first lap, highly motivated to redeem himself and supported well by his RSV4. His pace soon overcame Rea’s tenaciousness, while Sykes, hindered by repeated technical problems which had begun during the warm-up lap, was forced to withdraw. Another clever race by Guintoli, careful and focused on race distance, so much that he overtook Melandri first and then Rea with surgical passes. The pair of official RSV4s crossed the finished line alone, with Laverty ahead of Guintoli.
After this weekend the rider standings have Guintoli widening the gap up front, with 28 points over Sykes and 39 ahead of team mate Laverty. Aprilia continues to dominate the Manufacturer standings with a 42 point advantage in front of BMW, 44 ahead of Kawasaki, 141 over Honda, 149 above Suzuki and 171 in front of Ducati.
Eugene Laverty: “Race 1 seems to be cursed for us this year, especially on tracks like this one and Aragon where I had the right pace to take a double win. In any case I’m not one to complain. The important thing is to always start off with sights set high and to strike back when hard luck strikes. I was really trying hard for this win and I’m pleased to have been able to do it dominating from the first to last lap. I’m in the running for the Championship even with a few too many races with no points, but we are growing race by race and I’m confident about the upcoming rounds”.
Sylvain Guintoli: “In Race 1 I started off cautiously, trying to look after the tyres. This strategy helped me fight down to the last thousandths. It was a shame to have victory slip through my fingers, but I’m pleased with the way I managed the race. I had a few indecisions at the beginning of Race 1 but I quickly found my pace to finish the race well. After overtaking Rea I pushed to widen the gap, even risking a bit in the last turn, but unfortunately everything went well and we are leaving Portimão with some important spoils for the Championship”.