David Salom gritted his teeth to finish 13th in race one and 10th in race two on his Evo KRT machine. Tom and Loris now lead the championship outright, with Tom on 75 points and Loris on 71.
The truly peerless raceday performances from Sykes and Baz at the KRT team’s home circuit of Motorland Aragon came after Sykes and Baz had also gone first and second respectively on the grid after Superpole at the 5.344km Motorland circuit. Kawasaki is now leading the Manufacturers’ Championship by ten points after four individual races.
Conditions were cooler for race one, given the early start at 10.30am, with Sykes heading into an immediate lead and pushing away in his inimitable style. In race one he won by 4.275 seconds from Loris, having set a new lap record of 1’57.664 on lap two.
Tom came under pressure in the warmer race two, as track temperatures doubled, with Loris his constant companion. A late challenge from Marco Melandri was rebuffed by both Sykes and Baz, after the Italian rider ran wide in the entry to the final hairpin during an out-braking manoeuvre. Tom held off Loris by only 0.338 seconds in race two, after a quite amazing weekend for the KRT full Superbike riders. Tom has now won sixteen full SBK races in his career.
David Salom was also on strong form despite his recent hand injury, finishing second Evo bike in race one and the best of the Evo riders in race two, securing a top ten finish.
Assen in the Netherlands, on April 27th is the next stop off on the SBK calendar in 2014.
TOM SYKES (Rider Kawasaki Racing Team): “It was very important to put in this kind of performance after the first weekend in Phillip Island. We scored two race wins today but after four or five laps of race two it felt far from perfect! Race one was very good and we had a good set-up that gave us a consistent pace on a cold track. I was expecting more of a drop off in that race but it was good to the end. I thought race two was going to be more straightforward in hot conditions so I went for the same SC0 as race one. There was a change in temperature in race two on the starting grid and I had to dig extra deep and try to make the best of the changing situation. The two guys behind me for sure had more grip than me but we were for sure able to put the Ninja ZX-10R on the pieces of tarmac those guys were looking for. I had a plan on the last lap to keep them behind me - and it worked. If someone had have made the pass and made it stick they would have deserved the win. Marco tried a pass and could not quite make the corner on the final lap. It was great racing and good for the spectators!”
LORIS BAZ (Rider Kawasaki Racing Team): “There was a change in temperature for race two so we changed the rear tyre to suit it. We knew that race one would be hard for us because of the lower temperature but we hoped that the track would warm a little bit more to be sure to use the SC0 tyre. Finally it was on the limit in the opening race so we did not know what to do in race two. I pushed Pere my crew chief to use the soft one and I think it was a good decision because Tom seems to have struggled a bit more in race two on a different tyre. I caught him after a few laps and I think we had good race and we each enjoyed it. I tried to pass Tom but I lost the front a bit. I knew Melandri was closing behind so I wanted to overtake Tom as soon as possible. I could not do it and maybe I went a lap too early. When Marco came past we got involved for a while and we could not quite catch Tom. At this track we have usually struggled but here we are, close to the victory, on the podium twice and that is a good sign for the rest of the season. I am still second in the championship and now we go to Assen.”
DAVID SALOM (Rider Kawasaki Racing Team): “It was hard in these two races and we had some problems earlier in the weekend because we had to try out some electronic parts in practice. In the first race it was hard because I did not have the pace I wanted. In the second race was easy in one way because the set-up was better but it was more difficult because I could not get away from Leon Camier. He ran wide on the last lap and then Niccolo Canepa was very near me, but I held on to score a top ten. I am happy for the team because they all worked very hard and the KRT full Superbike riders had a great day too.”