(Words and images - Kawasaki Europe) Tom Sykes and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R took a season best for rider and manufacturer with fourth place in race one at Misano, with Joan Lascorz and Chris Vermeulen also in the points today.
The first race was held over the scheduled 24-lap duration and Lascorz finished ninth, Vermeulen 14th in his comeback weekend, taking his first points of the year.
Race two was a very complicated affair, run over 14 laps after the first attempt was red flagged when two riders fell at the same corner. The first running was declared null and void, and full points were awarded for the shortened race two, making it an even more intense sprint race compared to race one, and with only 17 starters.
In the second race Lascorz was top Kawasaki finisher, 9th again, with Vermeulen tenth. Sykes, who had been in line for a second good finish of the day in the first halted race, found the early laps of the restart difficult and he eventually fell, but remounted to finish 14th and take points.
All the official Kawasaki riders had some positives to take away to the next round at Aragon in a few days time, not least Sykes’ Superpole win and top four race finish, Lascorz’ top four in combined qualifying (before Superpole) and two points finishes for returnee Vermeulen.
Tom Sykes: “We have come away from one of our least favoured circuits with a pole position and a fourth. In race one I was feeling good. In race two, part one, I dropped a couple of positions but I felt I had the pace to get them back easily. Then the race was stopped, I do not know why because as it turned out there was no oil or anything down, certainly nothing to stop the race. We were looking strong there, and there was just Haslam between me and the podium. We were gapping the guys behind. In the ‘real’ race two, I got batting with a couple of guys and that put me out of my rhythm. It was a sprint race so some had gambled on soft tyres. I tried turning just a little bit tighter to got inside Xaus at turn three and unfortunately ran over the white line inside the track and that took the front away. I remounted and got two points. We were a lot stronger in race one for fourth and we have to be happy with the way things went this weekend, with a Superpole win and a good top four finish.”
Joan Lascorz: “A strange raceday, because we were fourth in combined qualifying, but ninth in race one and race two. It gave me some points, and two top tens, so there are some positive things to take away from here. I fitted a soft tyre for the ‘second’ race two, and I had a better feeling and I could push more and more. In race one it was difficult with the rear grip and in the last laps I did not have good lap times. Overall, some positives and in qualifying we were fourth, so we know what is possible.”
Chris Vermeulen: “Not too bad. Obviously it was hard to jump back into the thick of it this weekend and we had three races, not two. I am a little bit sore now, in my knee and my elbow. We managed to finish both races, and in the points, and with a little bit of luck got into the top ten in race two. So, not too bad for my first races back in a long time. In race one we had a little issue with the set-up because I was struggling to get a good feeling from the front of the bike, and get it to turn. We were able to improve that in race two. We are still learning but we are improving all the time.”