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Guintoli, Laverty post wins in Australia

24 February 2013 08:07

Aprilia riders Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty were the winners in the opening World Superbikes round after Carlos Checa crashed heavily.

It was a disappointing day in Australia for pole-sitter Checa, who had to be airlifted to hospital for scans after a collision with Marco Melandri in race one caused him to crash at Phillip Island.

Frenchman Guintoli started 2013 in perfect fashion, however, as he saluted in the first race by 1.352 seconds ahead of Irishman Laverty and Italian Michel Fabrizio who was a further 0.007 seconds back in third position.

British pair Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes rounded out the top five.

But Laverty made up for falling short in the first race by taking out the second race on Sunday.

Guintoli was forced to settle for a second-place finish after completing the final race of the day 0.418 seconds slower than Laverty.

Italy's Melandri was almost a full second (0.964) behind Guintoli in third spot while Fabrizio and Sykes completed the top five.

Meanwhile, it was announced on Sunday that Australia's famous Phillip Island track will host the country's World Superbikes Championships until 2017.

The course was already pencilled in to stage next year's event but a three-year contract extension ensured the next four instalments would take place at Phillip Island.

Local member of parliament Ken Smith hoped the announcement would boost tourism for the region.

"The government recognises the importance of the World Superbikes as part of Victoria's regional major events calendar and I am thrilled to announce another three years," Smith said.

"Phillip Island plays an important role in positioning (Australian state) Victoria as having exceptional nature-based experiences to both domestic and international markets, with the Phillip Island Nature Park one of the state's key tourism attractions.

"The government, through Tourism Victoria, will continue to leverage major events such as the World Superbikes and market Phillip Island's iconic penguin parade, family attractions and diverse beach and coastal offerings, along with the island's close proximity to Melbourne to grow the visitation."

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