The World Superbike races at Silverstone, run in appalling conditions, produced a surprise French double.
Nineteen-year-old Kawasaki Racing youngster Loris Baz grabbed a well-deserved race one victory, while former GP regular Sylvain Guintoli was the victor in the shortened race two encounter for his new team Pata Ducati.
Ulstermen Jonathan Rea took fourth and ninth places from his two outings, despite crashing in both, and Eugene Laverty followed up his opening race finish of tenth with fourth place in race two on the Aprilia — despite being ushered in and then out of the winner’s enclosure in chaotic scenes at the end of the shortened second outing.
Despite two trips ‘down the road’, Rea was still smiling at the end and said: “That was some day, but I didn’t think that we’d close the gap on the leaders this weekend, but we’ll take it and move on.
“I banged my thumb a bit in the first crash and the second was a bit worrying as we lost the rear wet tyre, off the throttle and off the brake, which is happening too much this season.”
It was a day of red flags caused by multiple incidents aided by the changeable weather, with riders uncharacteristically standing on both podiums despite crashing in races one and two.
In the re-started opening encounter — which was declared a wet race — eventual winner Loris Baz on the Kawasaki Racing Team ZX10R, was followed home by the Goldbet BMW duo of Michel Fabrizio and Ayrton Badovini, with high drama as they crossed the line on the final lap of 18.
Jonathan Rea, who had come from 14th on the opening lap to second place on the penultimate lap — with a couple of off-track excursions thrown in for good measure — looked a sure bet for the podium, until he ran slightly wide into the final turn.
This allowed both Fabrizio and Badovini to make the pass with the latter touching the painted kerbs as he crossed the finish line. Failing to hold on, the Italian high-sided from his BMW and with Rea in close attendance, the Ulsterman was left with only one option — lay his Honda World Superbike machine on its side at 100mph on the start-finish straight.
Thankfully he was uninjured and collected fourth place. Laverty came home in tenth.
The second outing was red-flagged and the result declared after only eight laps due to ten separate incidents caused by standing water, but total confusion reigned as both Baz and Jakub Smrz — who were eventually awarded second and third — were on their backsides when the red flag was deployed.
Laverty was interviewed for second place, but when the official timesheets were produced he actually found himself demoted to fourth.