Round 8 - Race 1 (Saturday 18th June 2016)

Kawasaki Racing Team Rider Jonathan Rea took his first race win since Assen in the opening 21-lap FIM Superbike World Championship race at Misano, holding off his race long companion and team-mate Tom Sykes by only 0.090 seconds over the line. The sixth KRT 1-2 finish of the season keeps Rea and Sykes out in front in the championship, with Rea extending his overall lead once more.

From the start, and after some of their main rivals had run off track into the first chicane, Rea and Sykes made an escape from their peer group as they kept up a pace that none of their rivals could match.
Jonathan Rea (#1) & Tom Sykes (#66) - Round 8, 2016 WSBK Championship
At halfway distance Rea slowed to allow Sykes to take the leading duties but Sykes refused the offer and maintained his track position right behind Rea for all 21 laps, looking for a way past in the final two laps. Unable to find a gap, despite a strong attempt into the penultimate right hand corner, Sykes drew himself from behind Rea’s slipstream to close up to within 0.090 seconds for a class leading 1-2 finish.

Rea has a 61-point lead over his team-mate Sykes and with Chaz Davies finishing fourth today Sykes extended his advantage down to third place in the table to 13 points.

Earlier on Saturday morning Sykes had taken his sixth Superpole win of the year and the 36th of his career. He has won all of the last five pole positio n qualifying contests at Misano. Sykes set a new best lap of 1'34.037 to win Superpole, with Rea just behind in second place on the grid.

Jonathan Rea (#1) & Tom Sykes (#66) - Round 8, 2016 WSBK Championship

Jonathan Rea (#1) & Tom Sykes (#66) - Round 8, 2016 WSBK Championship

JONATHAN REA (Kawasaki Racing Team rider): “Getting back on the top step was the clear target here, and to get both race wins, so we are halfway to accomplishing that. To be honest it was a little bit surprising how much we struggled towards the end because yesterday our pace was so strong at the end of my long run, staying in the low 1’36 laps. I am not sure how much the track temperature increase has affected us today, because it seems to be a lot. We need to sit down tonight and understand how we need to improve. Tom was strong in some areas of the track, we were strong in some areas of the track, but overall our lap times were quite similar. I am really happy to win again.”

TOM SYKES (Kawasaki Racing Team rider): "Nearly there, but not quite. Overall I am relatively happy with our performance, and consistency, but I am just a little bit disappointed that I did not win because I certainly feel that Marcel and Danilo and the boys have worked hard. We lost a little bit of time yesterday but we made up for it today and felt we had a good set-up - so I have to be happy. It was just not able to make a clean pass in the last couple of laps. I know on the last two laps when I tried I was not able to put the nose of the bike in a good position. We were less than one tenth of a second from the win and we have to take some positives. We have been fast and consistent in recent rounds and we have come to another completely different circuit, where Jonathan has been really strong and winning in the past, and we had a good potential to win the race. We just were not able to get into the right track position on the last lap.”

Round 8 - Race 2 (Sunday 19th May 2016)

Reigning FIM Superbike World Champion, Jonathan Rea and 2013 champion Tom Sykes once more came out on top during the Misano race weekend, with Rea and Sykes replicating Saturday’s race result of Jonathan first and Tom second, albeit in a different kind of race. Rea’s latest win puts him 66 points ahead of his official Ninja ZX-10R team-mate in the championship table, with just one more round at Laguna Seca to come before the long summer break begins.

The lead Ninja ZX-10R pairing had the field to themselves almost from the start once again after taking a clear 1-2 on Saturday but this time it was Sykes who did the front running. His lead lasted until lap 17, when Rea put in a pass entering the first corner and held the line on the way out of the chicane.

Rea pushed on to create a gap that ended up being 2.963 seconds at the end of the 21-lap contest around the 2.226km circuit on Italy’s Adriatic coast. Realising he would not catch his team-mate before the end, Sykes had eased off slightly to make sure of his strong second place finish.

Jonathan Rea (#1) - Round 8, 2016 WSBK Championship

Jonathan Rea (#1) and KRT in the box - Round 8, 2016 WSBK Championship

Misano was Rea’s seventh win of the year, and the 36th of his career. He remains the fourth most successful WorldSBK rider in history in terms of race wins.

The second race was held in cooler conditions than Saturday’s opening event, with Rea making a tyre option change that he later said was an important part of his race two winning strategy - particularly when added to chassis set-up modifications that also helped his Sunday cause.

Although Sykes’ push at the front could not quite be maintained to the end of the rac e he still scored another 20 valuable points as he and his team-mate moved further away from their other competitors in the championship standings. Kawasaki leads the Manufacturers’ Standings by 74 points after Misano.

Rea has now scored seven wins this year, and has a total of 343 points to Sykes’ 277. Five rounds and ten individual races remain, starting at Laguna Seca between 8th and 10th July 2016.

Jonathan Rea (#1) & Tom Sykes (#66) - Round 8, 2016 WSBK Championship

Jonathan Rea (#1) & Tom Sykes (#66) - Round 8, 2016 WSBK Championship

JONATHAN REA (Kawasaki Racing Team rider): “My pre-race target was achieved so I am super-happy. For many reasons I really wanted to win here and to make it a double is incredible. I love racing here; it is where I had my first career WorldSBK race win. Approaching the mid part of the season I had said many times just how important the next two races would be before the summer break, so to make it count this weekend is really good. Race two was a little bit of a different strategy. I set off so fast yesterday but today we used the 377 rear tyre and I think that made the difference. I want to say big thanks to Pirelli because they also brought the 375 tyre, the one we used in race one for the first time this weekend - and the 377, which we won race two with. That was the same tyre we used in Donington, so it is working in cooler and hotter conditions, which is big credit to them. Also credit to my crew because compared to race one we changed the bike quite a lot and we were able to conserve our tyre a little bit better.”

TOM SYKES (Kawasaki Racing Team rider):“I think today I was not as strong as I intended to be but probably Jonathan also found something extra, because that is how it looked. Two times second, and pole position, normally that would be an acceptable weekend so I am grateful for those things, but Jonathan is the one who we are challenging in the championship and we lost some ground. There are still five whole rounds to go, so we have a long time remaining. But my focus is not on that yet. We will test at Misano tomorrow and I hope we have clear conditions because I am very interested to find a solution for something. It is basically about turning and it was very clear in sector one of the track today. We will keep working to improve things because I want to win races.”

Before then, the KRT squad will undertake a day of testing at Misano tomorrow, Monday 20th June.

2016 Superbike World Championship Leaderboard after Round 8:

1.J. REA343
2.T. SYKES277
3.C. DAVIES244
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