HUDDERSFIELD’S defending World Superbike champion Tom Sykes endured a mixed weekend in Sepang, crashing out in one race before battling hard for third place in the second.
Italian Marco Melandri claimed a thrilling double victory on the sport’s first visit to the circuit.
Melandri saw off Aprilia team-mate Sylvain Guintoli in an incident-packed first race which saw Kawasaki pair Loris Baz and Sykes crash out and take with them Suzuki’s Alex Lowes.
The second race was red-flagged with three laps completed after Claudio Corti’s MV Agusta caught fire and had to be extinguished by track side marshalls.
Melandri and Guintoli once again surged forward at the restart and exchanged places several times on the final lap before the Italian claimed his second win.
Yorkshire’s Sykes made amends after his first race crash by taking third place, a result which leaves him with a 13-point lead over second-placed Guintoli in the overall standings.