A faultless ride from Tom Sykes saw him cruise to his second victory of the season at Donington Park for the European round of the FIM World Superbikes.
It was a mixed race for the homegrown contingent with the news that Leon Haslam would be withdrawing due to issues with the leg that he had undergone surgery on just four weeks ago, and then Leon Camier crashed out at Goddards on the first lap before Laverty ran into the gravel after missing his apex a few laps later.
Jonathan Rea on the Pata Honda however looked solid for a podium early on, taking the battle to the Kawasaki KRT rider and trading fastest times with Sykes before posting a lap record of 1’28.469.
By the midway point Sykes had stretched out his lead to 1.9 seconds though and had left the action for second place behind him. Rea, suffering from electronic problems, dropped pace and Guintoli made his move with Melandri not far behind.
The Goldbet BMW Motorrad rider has been working hard all weekend to pick up points and he soon took advantage of a wide-running Guintoli to sneak second on the inside.
Whilst happy with a podium, It was a disappointing race for the Leicestershire-based Frenchman, “I tried to push until the end and follow Marco for the last few laps. But I had made a big mistake in the fast downhill earlier in the race and from there it was hard to not let Tom get away.
Being back on the podium is good though, and I'm happy with that.
Melandri, despite his second place, seemed disappointed with his pace, “After a difficult weekend, to finish here on the podium is great. I had a good start but then it was difficult to catch Sylvain [Guintoli] and Johnny [Rea]. Then when I did, I tried to catch Tom too but he was too far away!
I'm confident with my racing, but we need to find a bike that makes it easier to push hard when I want to catch somebody. I would like to be back on top."
That honour however went to Tom Sykes who – once again – was in jubilant mood, “It was a good race for me and leading on the last lap was great. Race two is always a little more difficult with everyone makes changes, but we'll sit tight and make sure we can make it happen again.
We're racing a world championship and it's never an easy race, but we've worked hard on tyre life and Kawasaki especially have worked hard on this. You can see now at the end of the race that the tyres are with me right until the end."
Speaking to MCN specifically about his plans for Race Two, Sykes was upbeat, "I’ve got a little bit in reserve for race two but it all depends on how the race unfolds. My rivals will make changes and get closer, but we may make some changes too. I’ve never done a WSB double and there would be no better place to do it than Donington Park".
Donington - FIM Superbike World Championship - Race 1
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 34'10.881
2. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 34'13.260
3. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 34'14.689
4. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 34'17.641
5. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 34'24.530
6. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 34'26.432
7. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 34'28.334
8. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 34'30.019
9. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 34'38.619
10. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 34'41.698
11. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 34'42.492
12. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 34'42.697
13. Niccolò Canepa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 34'42.811
14. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 34'53.906
15. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 35'40.992
RT. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 27'50.190
RT. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 22'01.444
RT. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 3'05.872