Marco Melandri says that his third-place finish in the second World Superbike race of the day at Phillip Island was "like a win" to him after hurting his already injured shoulder in his spectacular collision with Carlos Checa during the first race.
Phillip Island WSBK opener delivered very close racing
The Italian had been suffering with a persistent shoulder problem throughout the off-season, and was already mulling surgery during the break between rounds one and two before he was eliminated by Checa in an accident thirteen laps into the first race.
Coming down hard on his shoulder in the collision—which also saw Checa briefly knocked unconscious—Melandri admits that he was considering withdrawing from the second race.
However, not only would he take the start, he would go on to challenge for the win aboard the BMW GoldBet machine before settling for third position behind Aprilia riders Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli.
“In race one I was working my way towards the front and had improved to third place, when I was hit from behind by Carlos and unfortunately I fell on my right shoulder. I don't know why it happened, maybe he made a mistake or he had a technical issue, I just went down suddenly. I am sorry for Carlos, he is a professional rider and I wish him a speedy recovery.
“In race two, I fought within the leading group from the very beginning, despite the pain in my shoulder. In the closing laps I had Michel really close behind me trying to overtake me, but I succeeded in defending my position and battled for my place on the podium. In this type of situation, it is like winning for me.”
With six weeks now until the second round at Motorland Aragon, Melandri has confirmed that he will undergo surgery on his shoulder later this week.
Meanwhile, team partner Chaz Davies says he can take satisfaction from his ride to fourth position in his first World Superbike Championship race for BMW at Phillip Island, even if he felt he had a bike capable of challenging for the podium.
The Welshman turned around a troubled Superpole to haul himself into contention from 12th position on the grid, but while he was able to prevail in a race-long tussle with Tom Sykes and Loris Baz to finish in fourth, he was frustrated to fall short of the podium.
“After race one, I was happy with the points I received for my fourth position finish, but honestly I would have liked to have a podium,” he said. “I knew after warm-up that a podium was realistic. I was almost a little bit disappointed when I didn't get it, despite the fact that I achieved far more than I expected before I started the weekend here.
“The race was quite hectic. To overtake in Phillip Island you need to make a split second decision and there are a lot of close moves, especially ones that use the brakes. The bike was working great on the brakes, so that was an advantage. It was a little bit of a shame that I was held up in the very beginning. I think if I could have stayed directly behind the leading group I would have had the speed to move away with them.”
Davies's second race, meanwhile, would come to an abrupt conclusion on the opening lap when he lost the rear of the S1000RR into MG hairpin and came into contact with Baz. Despite remounting and pitting for a new rear tyre, Davies would finish two laps down and out of the points.
“In the opening lap of race two I lost the rear as I turned in. I'm not exactly sure why. The only reason I can give is either that somebody tapped me or that the extreme right hand side of the tyre wasn't quite scrubbed in and that made the rear spin around.
“Unfortunately, Loris was on the outside of me and he had nowhere to go. Of course that was very disappointing but we are mostly taking the positives from the first race and will build on those for the future rounds.” ––Paul Duchene
RACE 1 RESULTS
1. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 33m 47.109s
2. Eugene Laverty IRL Aprilia Racing RSV4 +1.352s
3. Michel Fabrizio ITA Red Devils Roma RSV4 +1.359s
4. Chaz Davies GBR BMW GoldBet S1000RR HP4 +5.702s
5. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +5.753s
6. Loris Baz FRA Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +6.769s
7. Leon Haslam GBR Pata Honda CBR1000RR +6.830s
8. Jonathan Rea GBR Pata Honda CBR1000RR +17.944s
9. Leon Camier GBR Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +19.152s
10. Max Neukirchner GER MR Ducati 1199 R +26.557s
11. Jules Cluzel FRA Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +30.305s
12. Ivan Clementi ITA HTM Racing BMW S1000RR +30.411s
13. Alexander Lundh SWE Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +45.185s
14. Glenn Allerton AUS Next Gen BMW S1000RR +48.632s
15. Jamie Stauffer AUS Honda Racing CBR1000RR +53.453s
16. Federico Sandi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1m 22.730s
17. Vittorio Iannuzzo ITA Grillini Dentalmatic BMW S1000RR +4 laps
RACE 2 RESULTS
1. Eugene Laverty IRL Aprilia Racing RSV4 33m 45.938s
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2. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 +0.418s
3. Marco Melandri ITA BMW GoldBet S1000RR HP4 +1.382s
4. Michel Fabrizio ITA Red Devils Roma RSV4 +2.282s
5. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +11.545s
6. Davide Giugliano ITA Althea Racing RSV4 +12.508s
7. Jules Cluzel FRA Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +17.330s
8. Jonathan Rea GBR Pata Honda CBR1000RR +17.339s
9. Leon Camier GBR Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +19.886s
10. Leon Haslam GBR Pata Honda CBR1000RR +19.996s
11. Max Neukirchner GER MR Ducati 1199 R +27.629s
12. Glenn Allerton AUS Next Gen BMW S1000RR +42.809s
13. Jamie Stauffer AUS Honda Racing CBR1000RR +42.893s
14. Federico Sandi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +44.899s
15. Alexander Lundh SWE Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +57.824
16. Vittorio Iannuzzo ITA Grillini Dentalmatic BMW S1000RR +1m 22.574s
17. Chaz Davies GBR BMW GoldBet S1000RR HP4 +2 laps