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12 June 2013

Marco Melandri wins in Portimao

BMW Motorrad added another circuit to the list of tracks it was victorious at in the FIM Superbike World Championship. The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team and factory rider, Marco Melandri, celebrated victory in the first race at Portimão. It was Marco´s second and the team´s fourth victory of the season. In race two, Marco struggled with rear tyre wear issues and finished 12th. His team-mate Chaz Davies finished a difficult first race in sixth place. For race two, he and his crew improved the set-up of the BMW S 1000 RR which meant Chaz felt more comfortable and finished fifth. After six rounds of the 2013 season, Marco is fourth in the riders championship with 156 points, directly followed by Chaz who is fifth with 133 points. In the Manufacturers´ classification, BMW climbed back up to second place with 211 points.

Race one was an exciting thriller. After starting from fourth place on the grid, Marco improved to second soon after the start, right behind leader Tom Sykes. He dropped back to third place on lap three when Eugene Laverty overtook him. Halfway through the race, Laverty was forced to retire, and almost simultaneously, Marco took the lead from Sykes. Over the next few laps, Sykes was pushing from the back and the gap to Sylvain Guintoli in third declined. Entering lap 17, Sykes passed Marco with a close manoeuvre and the Italian BMW factory rider had to take evasive action and leave the track to avoid a collision. As a consequence, he dropped back to third but began to catch up straight away. On lap 19 of 22, Marco overtook Sykes and Guintoli to take the lead, however the Frenchman fought back successfully. Entering the final lap, Marco retook the lead. It was hard work for Marco to defend it, but in the end he crossed the finish line with an advantage of 0.007 seconds in front of Guintoli - the fourth closest finish ever in the history of the Superbike World Championship. Chaz, who started from 12th place, lost two positions at the start and had to fight battles in the middle field during the beginning stages of the race. Over the course of the race he gained positions as his race pace was close to the leaders, but he was too far back to fight for the podium and he finished in sixth place.

In race two, Marco experienced excessive wear on his rear tyre from the very beginning. During the early laps he was able to hold third position, but from the eighth lap onwards he started to drop back. Without the correct level of grip, he was unable to fight back against his competitors and lost positions and after 22 tough laps he finished 12th. Meanwhile Chaz was feeling a lot better on his RR in comparison to race one. He made a good start and improved from 12th to eighth soon after the start of the race. He overtook Davide Giugliano on lap three to take seventh place and then fought a long battle with Giugliano and Carlos Checa. On lap 12, he improved to sixth place by passing the struggling Marco, and on the penultimate lap Chaz overtook Checa to secure fifth place before the chequered flag.

In the fourth race of the 2013 FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, Sylvain Barrier from the BMW Motorrad GoldBet STK Team celebrated his second win of the season and retook the lead in the Rider´s classification. After his heavy crash in yesterday´s qualifying session, the team worked all night to repair the BMW HP4 and their hard work was well rewarded. Today, Sylvain once more proved the potential of the new bike by dominating most of the race. His team-mate Greg Gildenhuys defied the pain caused by his fractured left heel and collected important points finishing 12th.

Marco Melandri: "To win in race one was not easy because at the beginning I was struggling a lot with the traction but after ten laps this improved and it was easier for me so I got closer to the front again. When I was leading, it was very difficult, because it was very windy so it was hard to stay in front. When Tom passed me, he closed the line. Maybe he thought he was in front of me but he just pushed me out of the track. When I came back, I did not have any plan so I just pushed as much as I could. I tried to overtake Tom very quickly because Sylvain was very fast and tried to pull away. When I caught Guintoli I took the opportunity to pass him. The last lap is very difficult to explain, it was just very close and I pushed as much as I could. I am so happy and thank you to everyone at BMW. In race two, I could certainly have been on the podium but instead the rear tyre began to vibrate from lap two onwards. From lap three I started losing grip and then the tyre deteriorated. As a consequence the whole bike started to vibrate and it was difficult to ride. I did the best I could do in that situation. Now I am looking forward to Imola."

Chaz Davies: "Race one was kind of frustrating. My start was not particularly good and for the first few laps I was in the wrong company and I lost a lot of time. It did not ruin my race but it did not allow me to finish in a position that we were capable of. In the middle of the race, my pace was not too far off the guys in front so it would have been nice to have gone away with them. In the closing stages, we had a drop of performance as we started to lack a little bit of grip, also in the front where we were using the harder front tyre for stability purposes. For race two, we took a couple of gambles as honestly we did not have a lot to lose. We changed the front and the rear tyre and also changed the suspension a little bit. And in fact race two was much better than the first. I was much happier with the bike even if I did not quite have the grip that I wanted, especially on the first two laps. But then I found some grip from lap three onwards. Again, we have learnt something a little bit too late which is frustrating but in general we showed a better performance in race two, even if it not was good enough. So I would say that I am `semi-happy´."

Andrea Buzzoni (General Manager BMW Motorrad WSBK): "The day started very well with the victory in the Superstock class and it bettered itself thanks to the fantastic performance of Marco in race one, where he won by a fraction. In race two, due to a problem with the rear tyre, Marco couldn't finish better than 12th place but still gained four points. We are quite disappointed with this result because Marco was able to be on the podium but the circumstances did not allow him to do his best. Chaz had a tough Saturday with the crash, which had some physical consequences. Nevertheless he had two great races: he was sixth in race one and fifth in race two, very good results given the position he started from. In the Superstock class, Sylvain took the lead in the riders´ ranking with today´s victory while Greg, despite his fractured foot, gave his best and gained his first points"

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): "Today was a day of mixed emotions for us. For BMW it was nice to win two of three races. Firstly, the Superstock team was successful with Sylvain and then we won the first of the Superbike races with Marco. The job done by all the guys after Donington has paid off as we improved the bike and we were able to give Marco a more competitive package that he used in the best possible way. We must congratulate him for what he has done. It was a good decision to test after Donington. Even if we have seen during the races that we are still missing some stability and that we need to further improve for the future, overall I must say that at least with Marco the package was quite competitive. Chaz had to pay the price for his grid position. In race one, he lost time when he had to overtake other riders. In race two, he was more confident from the beginning and he was able to catch up the guys in front of him. Fifth place is a good result when starting from 12th on the grid. Also with him we have to work on the machine. We have to improve his feeling with the RR and to make sure that in Imola he will be able to show his potential. Race two for Marco we would prefer to forget. We experienced unexpected severe wear on the rear tyre and now we have to analyse the hardware and the data in order to understand the reason of these not common issues."

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