Kawasaki: Sykes Doubles Up At Home With Rea Second

Kawasaki: Sykes Doubles Up At Home With Rea SecondThe remarkable winning record of Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and the Ninja ZX-10R 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 Jonathan Rea 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 Ninja ZX-10R. 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 Ninja ZX-10R 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.