World Superbike hopeful Jonathan Rea received an early-season boost after the Pata Honda rider put his CBR100RR Fireblade on the podium in race one at Motorland Aragon in Spain.
The 27-year-old Northern Ireland rider followed up his third place finish in the opener with a strong ride to fifth in the second race to slot into fifth place in the championship after the first two rounds.
Fellow countryman Eugene Laverty finished fifth and sixth respectively at the Spanish circuit, where defending world champion Tom Sykes powered to a brilliant double.
British star Sykes was a comfortable winner in race one, taking victory by over four seconds from team-mate Loris Baz and Rea, with the top six completed by Ducati’s Chaz Davies, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia).
In race two, Sykes was pushed hard by Melandri on the final lap, who briefly took the lead before running wide on the brakes, allowing Baz to to capitalise on his mistake to grab second place behind Sykes.
Guintoli, Rea and Laverty were the top six.
Sykes (75) now leads the championship by four points from Baz, with Rea fifth on 48 points and Laverty sixth, two points behind Rea.
Results: Motorland Aragon, Round 2
Race 1 - 1 T Sykes (Kawasaki), 2 L Baz (Kawasaki) +4.275s, 3 J Rea (Pata Honda) +8.418s, 4 C Davies (Ducati) +15.715s, 5 E Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +19.305s, 6 S Guintoli (Aprilia) +21.998s .
Race 2 - 1 T Sykes, 2 L Baz +0.338s, 3 M Melandri +0.470s, 4 S Guintoli +5.429s, 5 J Rea +8.861s, 6 E Laverty +15.986s.
Championship points after Round 2: 1 T Sykes 75pts, 2 L Baz 71, 3 S Guintoli 64, 4 M Melandri 49, 5 J Rea 48, 6 E Laverty 46, 7 D Giugliano 43, 8 C Davies 30.
Next round: Assen, April 27.
More in Monday’s News Letter.