It was a day of firsts at the Moscow Raceway, as the inaugural Russian bike race saw Marco Melandri take the lead in the standings for the first time.
The BMW rider came in second in Race 1 before winning Race 2 in front of 32,500 motorsports fans. He beat Tom Sykes by less than a second in Race 2 after losing out to him earlier in the day. The two riders battled it out for 25 laps as many other favorites crashed out around them.
Melandri struggled early on after being stung by a wasp during the first race. He recovered quickly and earned enough points to put him ahead of Max Biaggi for the top spot in the rankings. Biaggi finished third in Race 1 before crashing in the second and failing to finish. Melandri’s success marks the first time since the beginning of the season that Biaggi hasn’t been on top of the superbike leaderboard.
“Race 1 was very tough, so finishing second was for me like a win,” said Melandri. “But in Race 2 I felt very good, we made a small change on the bike and I felt very confident from the beginning. About six or seven laps to go, my rear tire was sliding a lot but was still working perfectly with the bike.”
This was Melandri’s sixth win of the season.