Superpole at Phillip Island
Once again Tom is well in the leading mix at the FIM Superbike World Championship round in Phillip Island.
Official KRT rider Tom Sykes took turns to lead the thrilling 22-lap Saturday race in the FIM Superbike World Championship on his all-new Ninja ZX-10R machine but finished an eventual fifth.
Tom did the early running up front and with up to nine riders forming one leading group and podium challengers all around right to the end the pressure was intense throughout
Tom who had taken his 31st Superpole success earlier in the day rode his new Ninja ZX-10R in the lead from lap three to lap six but had to drop back as he lost ground in two key areas of the circuit. He rallied to finish fifth and score valuable championship points.
“I think no-one wanted to lead but Jonathan and I had good pace initially but unfortunately I lost a little bit of track position to some other riders. That disturbed my rhythm a bit but we had good pace in the middle and at three quarters distance. Really, it was just on two corners on the track where we struggled and I was able to take an advantage in many areas but I lost it all in two vital areas of the racetrack. I had to ride around this but on the plus side the gap to the front was smaller than we have had in the past here and we are improving the feeling all the time. I am not downbeat and it is a long season. Now we have another race tomorrow.”
On the new Ninja ZX-10R Tom led for ten laps of the 22-lap race but two incidents pushed him back to sixth place, for sixth overall ranking in the championship.
From his pole starting position Tom made a good start looking for his first win on the season.
Tom pushed away up front in race two today but was unable to make a clean break. On lap 11 Tom dropped three positions to fourth in one corner, running wide after missing a gear.
After a tangle with eventual third place rider Davide Giugliano Tom dropped back again, regrouping and pushing on to a final sixth place, 3.320 seconds from the win.
The second round of the new season will take place in Buriram, Thailand, between the 11th and 13th of March.
“We are definitely knocking on the door in terms of our showings at Phillip Island. I felt really comfortable in race two up until lap ten. Going into the hairpin I struggled on the downshift. I missed gear and ran off the track. Unfortunately, on that lap I lost 1.6 seconds. A couple of laps later Giugliano and I came together and I lost another 1.6 seconds. Overall, we made a couple of small changes to the bike for today and I felt much, much more comfortable. Unfortunately I was not in the correct track position in the last five laps of the race. I am happy for the progress we have made and it something we can take forward. I have never been great here, for some reason, because I love the place.”