WSB: Marco Melandri takes double victory in Sepang to revive his championship hopes
Last Updated: 08/06/14 5:10pm
Marco Melandri: Return to form for Italian rider
Marco Melandri put himself back in the World Superbike title race as he won both races in Sepang after coming out on top in two thrilling duels with Aprilia Racing Team team-mate Sylvain Guintoli.
Melandri finished 0.62 seconds clear of his Guintoli in Race One and just 0.166 secs in front in Race Two to climb to fifth in the championship standings, although he is still 54 points behind British leader Tom Skyes.
Race Two, reduced to 10 laps after an early fire for Claudio Corti, delivered a classic final-lap battle, with the lead exchanging hands several times before Melandri pipped his team-mate to the chequered flag after overtaking him on the final corner.
Sykes held on for third place, some 2.689 further back, while Toni Elias was in fourth.
Melandri had needed to take evasive action as he misjudged his braking point on the second lap, coming close to wiping out Guintoli and Red Devils Roma rider Toni Elias.
The second race had largely followed the template set in Race One - which was the first ever World Superbike action in Sepang.
An action-packed start saw Loris Baz and team-mate Tom Sykes both crash out after a collision which also took Alex Lowes out of the race - and, importantly, created a gap at the head of the race.
Guintoli and Melandri went head-to-head and saw the lead swap possession before another late charge from the Italian gave him his first win as a factory Aprilia rider.
Northern Ireland's Jonathan Rea is in third place in the overall standings, behind Sykes and Guintoli, while Loris Baz is fourth.