Posted: 14 May 2013
Needless to say, last weekend’s World Superbike Championship race was breath taking, and the historic track of Monza could not have provided a better setting for some of the exciting racing action that left spectators on the edge of their seats until the last corner. In the case of the first race, it was a true photo finish, with BMW’s Marco Melandri clinching the victory from Eugene Laverty on the last corner – crossing the line just 0.085 seconds ahead of the Irishman.
At the beginning of the weekend, Brit rider Tom Sykes was heard saying that he would be going all out to try and take both race wins at the high-speed Italian track. Sadly though, despite giving it everything, the Kawasaki man was unable to take the top step of the podium, settling instead for third place in both races – or so we thought...
Sykes and Sylvain Guintoli were seen 'discussing' an incident during the parc ferme celebrations about Sykes’ overtake on the final lap on the run into the Roggia chicane. His manoeuvre meant he cut across the chicane and instead of conceding his place on track to the Frenchman, he joined from where he had left... an appeal which was made by Aprilia after race two.
On Sunday evening, an alternative set of race results were issued in Monza’s media centre – with Guintoli being declared the rightful third place winner in race two, instead of Sykes. However, the drama continued long after the spectators had left the circuit, when the decision was changed once again following an appeal from Sykes and the Kawasaki team. As a result, Sykes was re-awarded third place and Guintoli was relegated back to fourth.
With the 2012 World Superbike Championship result going down to the wire – just 0.5 points separated Champion Max Biaggi and Sykes at the top of the standings – it’s clear that both riders, even with 11 rounds to go, want to ensure they aren't missing out on any valuable points for their shot at the title. Guintoli still leads the riders’ championship after finishing fourth in both races at Monza with 137 points, Aprilia's Laverty is in second with 124 with Sykes is third with 119.
It also begs the question as to the process in which these decisions are made – how can the evidence be analysed twice and two differing conclusions reached? Had Guintoli appealed the result for a second time, could he be the one holding the third place trophy now?
The next round of the championship takes place at Donington Park, UK, in less than two weeks’ time. We have no doubt that all Superbike riders will be going all out for as many points as possible. Is there any love lost between Sykes and Guintoli? I’m sure we’ll see on the track!