News 11 Jul 2016

Sykes fends off Ducati duo in Laguna Seca race two

WorldSBK title leader Rea a non-finisher on Sunday.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Tom Sykes has taken victory in race two at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, heading the Ducati duo of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies over the line in a race that would have been impossible to script.

With a slight wheelie off the line from Jonathan Rea alongside, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Sykes kept the lead from pole as Giugliano benefitted and slotted in behind the Yorkshireman, with Chaz Davies and Nicky Hayden the closest challengers behind.

The first few laps of the race saw Michael van der Mark a high profile casualty, with the Dutchman running on and losing control of his Honda before rejoining down the field. Leon Camier then shortly suffered a technical problem that saw the MV Agusta Reparto Corse rider forced to retire, followed by IodaRacing rider Alex De Angelis.

Giugliano took the lead on lap three, with the two Ducatis sandwiching the KRT pairing of Sykes and Rea, before a fall for Pawel Szkopek brought out the red flag. With the restarted race set for 21 laps, the quick procedure soon saw bikes back on track, with Giugliano on pole for the restart from Sykes and Rea, with van der Mark able to restart, but from the final row.

The Italian lost the lead off the line to Sykes, before standing him up and taking it back, with Hayden able to take Rea and move himself up into third. The reigning champion fought back however and set off to hunt down the leading duo. Lorenzo Savadori was another casualty soon after, as the Italian rookie lost his Aprilia and crashed out on lap three.

An incredible tussle down the Corkscrew then saw the Kawasaki duo attack Giugliano and fight it out, before a lap later Rea went wide at turn six and ran on, out of the front-running battle as he then stopped on track with a technical problem.

The lead trio of Sykes, Giugliano and Davies ahead and away, a six-bike train of Hayden, Fores, Lowes, Torres, van der Mark and Canepa battled over fourth, with positions swapping and the Corkscrew hosting another classic moment as Fores took the inside line after running a little deep and Hayden refused to be overtaken.

A three-way fight for the win ensued with the two Ducatis fighting it out in a modern classic behind Sykes as the laps ticked down, the 2013 champion standing firm in the face of incredible pressure from the two red machines behind.

As the three crossed the line almost together after the incredible fight, last corner drama ensued for those behind, with Alex Lowes trying to take teammate Niccolo Canepa and sending both off, with Canepa able to at least see the line quickly.

Fores came home fourth for Barni Racing, ahead of home hero Nicky Hayden in fifth, with Torres on the Althea BMW sixth. Van der Mark staged an incredible comeback to cross the line seventh, ahead of Pata Yamaha’s Niccolo Canepa as the Italian managed to shoot over the line after the interruption.

Queensland’s Anthony West was ninth for Pedercini Kawasaki, ahead of Roman Ramos who completed the top 10. Raffaele De Rosa ended his WorldSBK debut in P11, ahead of Karel Abraham for Milwaukee BMW, Grillini’s Dominic Schmitter and a re-mounted Alex Lowes and Saeed Al Sulaiti, who took home his first point.

WorldSBK now heads into the summer break, before the grid get back on track at Lausitzring in September for the final four-round showdown of the 2016 Motul Superbike World Championship.