Superbike World Championship Round 6 - Race 1:
On a dry track surface at Donington Park Tom Sykes (KRT) won his first FIM Superbike World Championship race of the season by a clear 16.5 seconds to close the points gap on his team-mate and championship leader Jonathan Rea (KRT) to 50. Rea was finally not able to compete for the win himself after a problem caused him to crash at Craner Curves, without injury.
Tom Sykes scored his ninth successive win at Donington Park for Kawasaki with his 32nd career victory today, after a race filled with drama and unexpected twists and turns.
In the morning, before the start of the first race, Superpole was won by Sykes - the 39th such success of his career and the first this season. Sykes set a new track best of 1’26.641 to record his Superpole win. Rea had qualified second in Superpole and lined up right beside his team-mate on the front row. Kawasaki MXGP rider Tommy Searle was a guest of the team this weekend and was on the grid for the start of race one, to offer support to his fellow Kawasaki riders.
At the beginning of the opening 23-lap contest Chaz Davies took the lead, from Sykes and Rea, then after one lap of the 4.023km track Rea slotted into second place, and then the lead, after Davies crashed out on lap seven.
Having been down in fourth place for a short period, after trying to pas s Rea for second but running wide, Sykes found himself behind eventual podium finisher Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).
Sykes, the 2013 champion for KRT, steadily worked his way into the lead at his favourite circuit and eventually had a clear run to victory.
Rea had experienced some vibration issues late in the race and had been forced to slow his pace, but was to crash at high speed as his tyre deflated with three laps to go.
Haslam, a wildcard rider for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team and riding with the blessing of his JG Speedfit Kawasaki British Superbike team, took his Ninja ZX-10RR to second place after Rea’s misfortune, but was already in line for a podium finish close to the end of the race after making a strong start.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “That was a fantastic race and I enjoyed it. It turned out to be very difficult and not necessarily what I had in the plan but that is part of racing. We had a good start but during the attempted pass on Chaz I had a full fuel load and was just a little bit on the limit, I ran wide and did again on Jonathan. I lost a lot of time there but today’s experience has been a blessing in disguise really, because I now have a better understanding of the race bike set-up while riding with the others. All weekend I have been fairly much alone on track and doing my own thing and had some great results. But today being behind other riders was hampering the lap time. Overall to win here and continue my form at Donington is fantastic. ”
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “About a lap before Tom passed me I started to get a lot of vibrati on entering the corner off the gas. I had a lot of chatter from the front and the rear. When Tom passed me it started to get worse and worse. All I was thinking about was to finish the race and get some points. In hindsight I should have pulled over because I would have saved my bike because it was completely destroyed. The team will have to build me a new bike for tomorrow so that is frustrating for the mechanics as well. I am really disappointed, to be honest.”
Superbike World Championship Round 6 - Race 2:
In a contest where only 14 riders finished Jonathan Rea (KRT) recovered from a high speed crash in race one on Saturday to win his eighth race of the year and Kawasaki’s 100th in Superbike history. Tom Sykes (KRT) was a close runner-up, just 1.601 seconds behind Rea after 23 laps, as KRT scored another 1-2 finish.
Jonathan Rea rode one of the most important races of his career to take the second race win at Donington Park, despite having to start from the fourth row of the grid because of his first day no-score.
Rea made a superb launch and was able to ride around a first corner blockage that held back the early progress of Tom Sykes. Such was Rea’s early pace that he went from tenth on the grid to first place after just one complete lap and one additional corner.
Sykes was in fifth place in lap one and eventually got to second place on lap seven. He made up time to Rea’s lead but with the laps counting down Jonathan had enough of an advantage to hold the gap and win his 46th race since he joined WorldSBK.
With Rea winning today and Tom victorious in Saturday’s race the KRT duo sit 1-2 in the championship, with Jonathan 55 points ahead; 260 to 205. Chaz Davies, third in the race today and third in the points overall, is on 185.
Now the championship will head to Italy for the seventh round, at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Racedays will be Saturday 17th and Sunday 18thJune
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “I had an incredible first lap today. I had been really frustrated because I got penalised by no fault of my own yesterday in scoring no points and then penalised again with my grid position today, when I went back to tenth. I knew I had to make a good start straight away otherwise my race was over. I was really quiet today and after warm-up I was really nervous. I was going through all these scenarios in my head about what I would do with a good start, or a bad start, and then what my race plan would be. My guys worked really hard overnight to build a completely brand new bike because yesterday’s was destroyed. The first time I rode it this morning, with some set-up changes from Pere. The bike was talking to me in a way I have not had this year. So I knew today was mine if I could get a good start.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider) : “I was closing the lead but with three laps to go I started to ‘over-ask’ from the bike in some corners. But if there were three more laps to go then I could have continued in a more calculating way and continued the progress. When I started the race I was on the inside of the grid and turn one was a complete disaster. I had to almost stop the bike because some people were trying to win the race in the first turn. We had this to deal with and then there was a crash in the last turn which made us all hesitate, so the race got off in a very bad way for me. I am disappointed to lose my Donington winning record in this way. But all things considered I was beaten fairly and Jonathan rode very well. This day had to arrive at some moment in my racing life but unfortunately it came today, even though I believe our race pace was very strong.
2017 Superbike World Championship Points after Round 6:
- JONATHAN REA 260 KAWASAKI
- TOM SYKES 205 KAWASAKI
- CHAZ DAVIES 185 DUCATI
- MARCO MELANDRI 137 DUCATI
- ALEX LOWES 121 YAMAHA
- MICHAEL VAN DER MARK 102 YAMAHA
- XAVI FORÉS 99 DUCATI
- LEON CAMIER 84 MV AGUSTA
- JORDI TORRES 72 BMW
- EUGENE LAVERTY 58 APRILIA
- ROMÁN RAMOS 57 KAWASAKI
- STEFAN BRADL 48 HONDA
- LEANDRO MERCADO 43 APRILIA
- NICKY HAYDEN 40 HONDA
- LORENZO SAVADORI 32 APRILIA
- RANDY KRUMMENACHER 27 KAWASAKI
- ALEX DE ANGELIS 23 KAWASAKI
- LEON HASLAM 20 KAWASAKI
- MARKUS REITERBERGER 19 BMW
- RAFFAELE DE ROSA 12 BMW
- RICCARDO RUSSO 8 YAMAHA
- JAKE DIXON 7 KAWASAKI
- ONDREJ JEZEK 6 KAWASAKI
- AYRTON BADOVINI 6 KAWASAKI
- JOSHUA BROOKES 4 YAMAHA
- JULIAN SIMON 4