Superbike World Championship Round 8 - Race 1:
Jonathan Rea (KRT) and his team-mate Tom Sykes battled inside the podium places for the entire 25-laps of the first WorldSBK Laguna Seca race of the weekend, with Rea finishing second and Sykes third.
From pole position Sykes led for the first 11 laps of the race, with eventual race winner Chaz Davies and front row qualifier Rea just behind. A double pass, from Davies into the Corkscrew chicane and Rea on the exit, saw Sykes suddenly third. He was to hold onto that position until the end of the race, for his 12th podium of the year.
With seven laps remaining Rea was confident he would be able to challenge for the win but he found he was not able to make up ground to Davies in one key area, and he finished a narrow 1.202 seconds from victory.
This was Jonathan’s 14th podium finish of the year and it gave him 20 points, which extended his championship advantage over his KRT team-mate Sykes to 54.
The race was held in hot and sunny conditions, which took the track temperature to 58°C at the start of the race and ensured it was a particularly intense day of work for all the riders.
Earlier on Saturday morning Sykes had topped the times in Superpole qualifying, giving him to a total of three poles wins this season and 41 pole wins over his entire career in WorldSBK. Tom is now only two Superpoles away from matching the outright record of 43, held by Troy Corser.
With another Laguna Seca WorldSBK race to come on Sunday 9th July, Rea has 316 points and Sykes 262.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “I thought that was going to be my race but there was no substitute for Chaz here today. In the mid-part of the race I felt really good. Chaz would make a few tenths on one lap and then I could get right back on him, and I thought that this would be my race. But in the last seven laps I really struggled with corner entry and the only place I lost out was from the last corner to T1. Chaz was taking two to three tenths out of me in the last seven laps in that area and that was too much to make up again. I felt I was holding my own everywhere except that last section. We increased the championship lead again but I always vow that I never start to think about the championship situation until the summer break.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “I felt my pace drop towards the end but it was just rear tyre grip reducing on corner ent ry. I am disappointed about that but there was nothing more I could do. I did my best during the race to adjust the way I entered the corner and the engine brake strategy but there is no real substitute for grip. You hear a lot of people talk about electronics but when there is no grip left there is no grip left. We made a good step compared to yesterday and again tomorrow we will try to be strong. Another Superpole win today, and that just comes when it comes, but for me what was nice was that we improved our race set-up so much today, and we need to do the same again for Sunday.”
Superbike World Championship Round 8 - Race 2:
KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes finished 1-2 in the second Laguna Seca FIM Superbike World Championship race, with Rea taking his ninth win of the season today. Rea and Sykes are still 1-2 in the championship fight, with Rea extending his championship lead to 59 points.
Starting from seventh and eighth places on the grid respectively Sykes and Rea both made strong starts but Sykes was into a clear lead after just a handful of corners, despite being on row three at the green light.
Rea also soon passed the other podium contenders, at record pace with a 1’23.275 set on lap two, and he went past his team-mate Sykes on lap three, easing out a gap as the race progressed.
Both riders were to consolidate their leading positions throughout the 25-lap contest with Sykes able to keep Saturday race winner Chaz Davies behind to record second place and his 13th podium finish in 16 races.
In the championship points Rea leads with 341, Sykes is second with 282 and Davies is third, on 226. In the Manufacturers’ Championship standings Kawasaki leads by 66 points, with five rounds and ten individual races still to go.
The main summer break in competitive action begins now, with the next race weekend not taking place until 18-20 August, at the Lausitzring in Germany. Before then the KRT team will join some rival teams for a two day test at the same venue.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was awesome to win today and we did it by putting 25 good laps together. Right from the first lap Tom got away and I found it hard coming through at that stage. But when I got clear I put my head down and I knew it was game on. As soon as the opportunity presented itself and went through into the lead, and set my rhythm. We made a real step with the set-up overnight. On yesterday’s pace I felt good but I felt it was a difficult opening race. I left the changes for today to Pere my crew chief and did not go into too much detail. He came up with a good plan in warm-up and it seemed to work. Everything seemed to be coming easier and during the race I did not change anything, just played a little bit electronically with the engine braking settings. I want to thank all my team for giving me a great package and this is a good way to go into the summer break.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I was in a bit of a hurry to get to the front in race two and I was hoping to be going there alone. I came out of the last turn, looked at the big screen and saw my team-mate there. I wanted the riders behind to battle for a while but it wasn’t the case. The bike was very consistent and we stayed in the high 1’23s to low 1’24s all race. I made a couple of mistakes on one lap trying to adjust the rear brake and engine mapping, just to try something different. We have to be happy with second because yesterday and today I gave it everything on track. Credit to the boys in the garage as today’s pace was faster, the race was faster and had a lot safer feeling. I am a little disappointed to lose some points in the championship but there is still a long way to go.”
2017 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015 and 2016
2017: Races 16, Wins 9, Podiums 15, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 47 (32 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 103 (61 For Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 11 (7 For Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2017: Races: 16, Wins 2, Podiums 13, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 33 (33 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 97 (96 For Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 41 (41 For Kawasaki)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
4 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015 & 2016), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
2 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016)
2 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015 & 2016)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 102 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 336 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 69 – second overall
2017 Superbike World Championship Points after Round 8:
- JONATHAN REA 341 KAWASAKI
- TOM SYKES 282 KAWASAKI
- CHAZ DAVIES 226 DUCATI
- MARCO MELANDRI 189 DUCATI
- ALEX LOWES 148 YAMAHA
- XAVI FORÉS 132 DUCATI
- MICHAEL VAN DER MARK 129 YAMAHA
- LEON CAMIER 99 MV AGUSTA
- JORDI TORRES 94 BMW
- EUGENE LAVERTY 89 APRILIA
- ROMÁN RAMOS 73 KAWASAKI
- LEANDRO MERCADO 66 APRILIA
- STEFAN BRADL 64 HONDA
- LORENZO SAVADORI 63 APRILIA
- RANDY KRUMMENACHER 46 KAWASAKI
- NICKY HAYDEN 40 HONDA
- ALEX DE ANGELIS 32 KAWASAKI
- RAFFAELE DE ROSA 30 BMW
- LEON HASLAM20 KAWASAKI
- MARKUS REIT ERBERGER 19 BMW
- AYRTON BADOVINI 14 KAWASAKI
- ONDREJ JEZEK 12 KAWASAKI
- RICCARDO RUSSO 8 YAMAHA
- JAKE DIXON 7 KAWASAKI
- JOSHUA BROOKES 4 YAMAHA
- JULIAN SIMON 4 APRILIA
- JAKE GAGNE 2 HONDA