Sykes and Melandri star at Laguna Seca
Tom Sykes will take a 44-point lead into the summer break as he and Marco Melandri shared the spoils in the ninth round of the World Superbike Championship at Laguna Seca.
Melandri headed an Aprilia one-two in race one while Sykes came through a chaotic second encounter which was held over just seven laps after two red flags.
Polesitter Sykes converted his starting position into the lead at the start of race one but a mistake at the infamous Corkscrew on the opening lap allowed both Melandri and Aprilia team-mate Sylvain Guintoli through.
Once ahead Melandri made no mistakes as he edged away from both Guintoli and Sykes to take the chequered flag despite coming under pressure from the Frenchman behind.
Ducati’s Davide Giugliano come home in fourth after Chaz Davies vacated the position following a heavy crash on the second lap.
Spain’s Toni Elias finished in fifth ahead of PATA Honda’s Jonathan Rea, while Leon Haslam settled for seventh having run in fourth early in the race.
Race two proved to be full of drama as crashes for Suzuki’s Alex Lowes and Sylvain Barrier brought out the red flags on two occasions.
Lowes suffered nasty accident at the Corskscrew which saw him leave the circuit on crutches, while Barrier made heavy contact with the pit wall just three laps into the restart. Barrier was conscious and talking to medics while being stretchered to the medical centre.
As a result of the incidents, the race was reduced to just seven laps with Melandri leading the way once racing got under way for a third time.
However, the race one winner made a mistake at the final corner which was followed shortly after by Giugliano crashing out of third at the Corkscrew.
This allowed Kawasaki’s Sykes to slip into the lead where he stayed until the chequered flag as the reigning world champion picked up yet another victory.
Guintoli came home in second while Rea powered his way from 10th on the grid to claim the final place on the podium in third.
The World Superbike Championship resumes with a trip to Spain’s Jerez circuit on September 7.