News 12 Mar 2016

Rea rallies to WorldSBK race one win in Thailand

Brookes takes a point in hard-fought 15th position.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Reigning World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea has defeated Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes in an inter-team showdown at Chang International Circuit in Thailand.

The defending champion recovered from some big on track moments earlier in the race to hunt down his teammate and eventually pass him with a few laps to go.

Sykes kept the pace with the mumber one plate machine and after having led a majority of the laps, had plenty in reserve for the final lap. The Yorkshireman closed in on his teammate with only corners to go and eventually crossed the line right behind him.

The Kawasaki Racing Team pair got a better start off the line from P2 and P3 and pole sitter Michael Van Der Mark initially dropped back before fighting his way up to just behind Rea.

After the Honda rider saved a big wobble, he was left to a lonely ride to P3 to pick up his third podium of the season and maintain his 100 percent record in 2016.

His teammate, 2006 MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden, suffered a technical problem on lap 11 and was unfortunately forced to retire.

The Ducati duo of Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano dueled with some incredibly close racing, before Giugliano low-sided out of the race when chasing his teammate down once again.

Despite never having ridden in Buriram, Giugliano’s pace was close to that of teammate Davies. The Welshman was less fortunate in Thailand last season and will be encouraged by a P4 result and a good haul of points on a track traditionally not suited to the Panigale R.

Markus Reiterberger had a great rookie ride in Thailand to P5 and was joined in the top ten by his Althea BMW teammate Jordi Torres in P8.

The Yamaha pairing of Lowes and Guintoli both recovered from some trickier moments earlier in the race to bring the new YZF-R1 home in P6 and P7 respectively, with the Aprilia RSV4 completing the top ten with WorldSBK rookies Alex De Angelis and Lorenzo Savadori finishing P9 and P10.

Leon Camier recovered from a difficult few sessions before race one to finish in 11th with his MV Agusta, just in front of Team GOELEVEN rider Roman Ramos.

Matteo Baiocco, riding for injured Fabio Menghi at VFT, scored points in 13th ahead of recovering Barni Racing’s Xavi Fores and Milwaukee BMW rider Josh Brookes.

Local rider Sahustchai Kaewjaturaporn, who replaced injured Josh Hook at Grillini for the Motul Thai Round, and Yamaha Thailand Racing Team’s Thai wildcard Anucha Nakcharoensri were both classified after a successful race one at their home track.

MV Agusta rider Jules Cluzel has beaten the Puccetti pair of Randy Krummenacher and Kenan Sofuoglu to pole position in Buriram after a late lap saw him cross the line 0.094 clear.

It was Japanese rider Hikari Okubo and German rider Kevin Wahr who claimed the final two spots in Tissot-Superpole 2 in WorldSSP in Buriram, as Malaysian rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin marginally missed out on the top 12 on his first outing at Chang International Circuit.

Jules Cluzel, who led the majority of last year’s race in Buriram before a mechanical problem saw him retire, set a late charge for pole position after a Friday that had seemed to see him on the back foot.

The MV Agusta rider clinched P1 on his final lap of the session, punching the air in celebration as he saw the result once over the line.

Points leader Randy Krummenacher set a number of incredibly competitive laps in his bid to take the honour from the Frenchman before being forced to settle for P2 by less than a tenth of a second.

The Swiss rider is a rookie this year and had never ridden at Chang International Circuit until this weekend, so a front row will surely be a great result for the Puccetti rider.

After a photo finish in Thailand last year from pole position, defending Champion Kenan Sofuoglu completes the front row in third.

Outpacing the field in Phillip Island before a tyre problem saw him unable to finish the race, the Turkish rider will be wanting a good haul of points in Sunday’s WorldSSP race to begin his title defence proper.

A.P. Honda Racing Thailand’s wildcard entry, Ratthapong Wilairot, will start seventh on the grid after topping Friday’s combined practice times.

The Thai rider came fifth in the WorldSSP race in his home country last year, also riding as a wildcard, and should pose a good threat to the front once again.