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Motorsport | Superbikes

Marco Melandri © Getty Images

Melandri pips Sykes to open 2018 account

Marco Melandri edged Tom Sykes to take honours in Race 1 of the opening round of the 2018 World Superbike Championship on Saturday.

The Ducati rider overtook Sykes late in the race while reigning world champion Jonathan Rea only manged fifth place at Phillip Island in Australia.

It was Sykes who used his pole position to good effect early on, getting to the first corner in front and slowly pulling away from the field, with Rea and Melandri in tow.

However, mid-race, Rea began to experience some grip issues, allowing Melandri to take second place with eight laps to go. The Italian then hunted down Sykes’s Kawasaki with a couple of sizzling laps, eventually making the race-winning maneuver on the first corner to claim his second career win.

Melandri’s teammate Chaz Davies and Spaniard Xavi Flores also managed to catch Rea, forcing the Brit to finish fifth, 13 seconds off the pace.


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