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The remarkable winning record of #tomsykes (Kawasaki #racing Team) and the #ninjazx10r at Donington Park continued today as Sykes won his second #worldsbk race in as many days, and his fourth of the year. Fellow KRT rider #jonathanrea was a close second for much of the 23-lap second race, continuing his 100% podium finishing record in 2016 at the end and maintaining a strong championship lead. He now leads his own team-mate in a KRT 1-2, as Sykes went second in the overall standings after his race two victory.
After the official #kawasaki riders shot into an early lead - Sykes from pole and Rea from the second row - there were only two riders competing for the win and each was on the new model #ninjazx10r. Rea set a new lap record of 1’27.605 to get himself back into the slipstream of a fleeing Sykes on lap two, as the race settled into a high speed game of cat and mouse between the KRT team-mates.
With a handful of laps to go Rea made a pass on Sykes but in finding a false neutral into Goddards he lost ground that he would never quite make up as Sykes maintained a high and consistent pace right to the end. Feeling the effects of arm pump close to the end of the intense 23-lap race Rea eased up in the final few laps, with third place finisher Chaz Davies safely over two seconds behind him, and 4.437 seconds behind Sykes.
Sykes’ celebration over the finish line was obvious for all to see as he continued what has become a legendary run of race wins at Donington – eight in a row. A Superpole success and then a double race win made Donington yet another almost perfect race weekend for Tom, topped off by regaining second place in the championship.
Tom is now 56 points behind Jonathan, who has 293 points to Tom’s 237. Rea has five race wins this year, Sykes now four, with Davies and Nicky Hayden the only other race winners so far.
In the Manufacturers’ Standings #kawasaki has a commanding 53-point lead thanks to the exploits of the new model #ninjazx10r and the official KRT pairing of Rea and Sykes. The next round of the championship will take place at Misano, between 17 and 19 June.
Tom Sykes stated: “Eight in a row at Donington feels fantastic and I am over the moon. I had a good start to race two and had good pace. For sure it was not perfect and for sure that is why we had a lot of pressure. We did a very good job and had to fight again, so it is more rewarding when you win like this. I am grateful to #kawasaki, Marcel, Danilo and all the boys in the garage because we have won three of the last four races, which is quite promising. We have won on some difficult circuits this year, physically and from a point of view of the types of tracks. Thailand, Sepang and two-times here – which is a circuit of two halves. Consistently, I think we are getting better. I am going to bed tonight thinking we have had a perfect weekend.”
Jonathan Rea stated: “I got another neutral going into the final hairpin corner, just as I had made my pass, so I was a little bit frustrated with that. In the end of the race I did not have much for Tom. I feel my bike was working really good, so I want to thank my team, especially as we have been working close with #kawasaki and all the crew to get the bike suited to me. It seems we are getting there now. In the last few races we have defined the engine character that I really like, so now it is the balance of the bike that seems to be working. To be so close to Tom, in a circuit that he is so strong at, is good because he is riding really strongly now. I am happy for that and happy to come here and make a big margin in my championship lead as well. That is the priority - but it would have been really nice to cap it off with a win in race two. My bike was feeling really good but near the end I just suffered a little bit with arm pump in my right arm.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “It was another great day for KRT and we were especially pleased to be joined at Donington Park by Mr Horiuchi, the General Manager of the Technology Division of the Motorcycle & Engine Company at KHI. For him to be with Tom and Jonathan on the podium was a fitting end to another successful weekend.”
Anthony West (Pedercini #racing Kawasaki) was 12th in race two, Roman Ramos (Go Eleven Team Kawasaki) 13th and Dominic Schmitter (Grillini #racing Team Kawasaki) placed 18th. Saeed Al Sulaiti (Pedercini #racing Team Kawasaki) was a non-finisher.
Battling Win For Sykes As Rea Earns Third Place
As the 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship season reached the halfway point today there was reasons for celebration for both Donington Park race one winner #tomsykes and his third placed KRT team-mate #jonathanrea. Sykes’ win gave the new model #kawasaki #ninjazx10r its eighth the win of the season and Rea continued his immaculate 100% podium finish record in 2016.
With Sykes having taken his 35th career Superpole success just a few hours before the first race of the Donington weekend he lined up at the head of the front row, with fourth place qualifier Rea one row behind.
From the flag the action started early, with a few hard passes being put in during the first few laps, helping to leave Sykes fourth on lap two. Rea was up to second by lap seven but he ran on, for the first time, after finding a false neutral.
As the race progressed Sykes moved forward, despite having some small issues of his own to deal with, and ended up passing long-time leader Davide Giugliano on lap 17. He fought with the Italian rider for a while but extended his pace to win by a clear 2.889 seconds after 23 busy laps.
This was Tom’s seventh straight win at Donington and his third race victory of the season on the new model #ninjazx10r.
Rea ran out third, 9.808 seconds down, after his earlier issues and despite having the pure pace to challenge all the way to the flag.
With championship second place runner Chaz Davies crashing out of the race, Rea has a 58 point lead as he approaches tomorrow’s second day of Donington race action, while Sykes is still overall third and now only three points behind Davies at the halfway point of the year.
The second Donington 23-lap race is scheduled for 15.00 local UK time on Sunday 29th May.
Tom Sykes stated: “I have no real reason why I have won so much at Donington Park but what makes it more rewarding today is that I had to fight for it. I got a good start but a couple of the guys really made some strong passes to get in front. I am sure if we could have had some good steady laps at the beginning we also would have had good pace - but I am happy that I had to fight for it. I had some issues myself from the bike, which is unusual, but the good thing is that even considering these I dug deep and came out with 25 points. After six laps I could understand what was going on and I thought it would be very difficult, maybe impossible to win. We kept plugging away and I had to manage the bike a bit differently in some areas to compensate. Overall I am really happy to win and the plan tomorrow is to be stronger, safer and more consistent.”
Jonathan Rea stated: “My bike felt really good in the beginning of the race but near the end I started to lose some grip from the rear and suffered a little bit turning into the corners. I found neutral five times in the race and two times at the final corner I ran onto the gravel, and then had to turn around on the access road. Also in the Melbourne loop I used all of the track surface just to stay on the track. It was affecting my confidence a little bit so I started to roll of the gas and make sure I did not make any more mistakes. It is frustrating for me because at some points of the race I could see my pace was even faster than the front two guys. I was closing in on them after my first mistake. I consolidated my podium so I am happy for that but a bit frustrated that we could not fight at least Tom and Davide at the front at the end of the race.”
Anthony West (Pedercini #racing Team Kawasaki) placed tenth after a tough but rewarding race, with returnee from injury Roman Ramos (Go Eleven Team Kawasaki) also scoring points in 13th place. For the second time in 2016 Dominic Schmitter (Grillini #racing Team Kawasaki) took a point for 15th place. Saeed Al Sulaiti (Pedercini #racing Team Kawasaki) was 17th and Sheridan Morais (Grillini #racing Team Kawasaki) was unable to race through injury.
ykes And Rea Go 1-2 After Strong Early Showing At Donington
Tom Sykes and #jonathanrea went 1-2 in the qualifying results after the first day of action in the #worldsbk Championship at Donington Park in the UK. Sykes was just 0.039 seconds ahead of his team-mate Rea, with Rea over 0.3 seconds ahead of the next best qualifier.
The warm and dry track surface was put to good use in the opening day around the classic 4.023km Donington layout. Sykes and Rea got to within less than a second of the outright track best on full race tyres – all while making their main preparations for the races on Saturday and Sunday.
Sykes was particularly surprised at his early pace as he was only working on a race set-up at a circuit he has won all the last six #worldsbk races at. The 2013 World Champion’s affinity with the Donington surface is well known and like all his fellow riders he appreciated the sunny conditions he encountered, despite red flag interventions delaying each one hour-long session for a short period today.
Rea was in happy mood as he worked on a consistent set-up, finding strong pace even on an unfamiliar front tyre towards the end of the afternoon session. The reigning champion worked with two specifications of front Pirelli, to evaluate which one should work best for the races that will take place on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th at Donington.
In terms of lap times Sykes set a 1’27.927 and Rea 1’27.966 today, with the absolute track best being a 1’27.071, posted by Sykes last season. Both KRT riders will now take part in Superpole 2 on Saturday to determine their final grid places for both 23-lap #worldsbk races.
Tom Sykes stated: “I am surprised to be fastest because again we were trying to work on race distance rather than pure speed so I am happy. I feel we have quite a well-balanced bike. We would like to improve in one or two areas, but in this moment I think we have a fairly acceptable bike set-up. The target is to try and improve one more step for tomorrow. It is always a pleasure to ride in Donington when the sun is shining and to go down the Craner Curves is always a pleasure. I am happy, relaxed and tomorrow will be another day where we need to look at making small, small improvements. We are only nine tenths of a second from the Superpole lap and that is achievable with the qualifying tyre. Everything is going in a good way.”
Jonathan Rea stated: “I am quite happy because we learned a lot of things in the first session. We confirmed a lot about the direction we have been going in with set-up. Also my riding style here is a little bit different. I am trying to put the Donington ‘jigsaw’ together because I feel I have never cracked it. It feels like in the second session today I was getting a lot more out of the bike, which was a big positive for me. I feel really positive today and that we can improve again tomorrow. To be close to the pace here, especially to Tom who is super-fast and is the reference, is quite good. It bodes well. Today feels like such a calm day because in the last few race weekends we have been changing the bike a lot and today we have been chipping away with something we know, and it is working.”
WorldSBK regular Roman Ramos (Go Eleven Team Kawasaki) returned to action after injury at the Donington weekend and set the 17th fastest time on day one. After two strong rides at Sepang as a sand-in for the injured Sylvain Barrier, Anthony West (Pedercini #racing Team Kawasaki) was back in action at Donington, going 18th fastest. Sheridan Morais (Grillini #racing Team Kawasaki) was a new rider for his team at Donington and went 20th quickest today. Dominic Schmitter (Grillini #racing Team Kawasaki) was 22nd and Saeed Al Sulaiti (Pedercini #racing Team Kawasaki) 24th from 25 riders.
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