Round 11 Race 1 France
The opening race of the Magny Cours FIM Superbike World Championship weekend had begun in wet conditions but the track dried out through all 21-laps, after which Tom Sykes (KRT) had taken third place.
Both Superpole winner Rea and second fastest qualifier Tom started out on full wet tyre options at the start of the first race but changed them after making a pit stop as conditions improved. Tom took on slick tyres and almost took second place as a result, on the very last lap.
The entire race was punctuated by many riders moving rapidly back and forward through the rankings but early leader Tom led, with confidence, for eight laps. Realising he had to stop for tyres, the Tom and Rea entered pitlane together, and went out together, dropping to the lower reaches of the top ten as a short-lived consequence of their pit lane entry.
On their different tyre choices they rode at the same pace for some time but eventually Tom passed by Rea and then made up ground and positions, running at a high pace. Tom eventually got to within touching distance of second place on the very last lap. He set the fastest lap of the race on the very last circuit, posting a 1’40.491.
Chaz Davies won the opening Magny Cours race, with Michael van der Mark second. In the championship points, Jonathan has 406; Tom is 44 behind on 362, with Davies now 86 points behind Jonathan and in third place overall.
“That was a really tricky race. Some riders went on intermediates and some on wets. I was one of those on full wets, as I wanted to be a bit safer in the early laps. Chaz went on intermediates, and it paid off for him in the end. I think we had a good race, considering we had a pit stop. After that it was definitely a good comeback through the field. The lap times were really competitive compared to the others guys. We just ran out of time, but that is racing. I am grateful to be on the podium in such tricky conditions, which could have easily gone another way. Tomorrow I hope it is fully dry and we can improve the result. In fully wet conditions we were good, also in dry conditions, so we are prepared for any of those. It is just that you can’t really make a perfect set-up for those ‘in between’ conditions. Tomorrow we will be prepared in any case.”