Thailand Round 2 Win
Another electrifying 20-lap race between KRT’s Superbike World Championship competitors Tom and Jonathan Rea saw Sykes win his first race of the year.
The weekend at the Chang International Circuit will go down as a double 1-2 event for Kawasaki with Rea winning race one on Saturday from Tom, and that order being overturned after a combative contest around the 4.554km circuit in the heat of the afternoon on Sunday 13th March.
Rea set the fastest lap of the Sunday race, on lap five, as he chased early leader Sykes. Rea was to lead for a time, and then pass Sykes again at some points, only to be re-passed on the way out.
Sykes and Rea looked to have the race between them for most of the race distance but Chaz Davies arrived towards the end and made the battle for the podium places even more complicated.
There was more than one attempt from Jonathan to pass Tom at the end but Sykes defended his position and ended up winning the short run to the finish line from the final right hand corner, with a small advantage of 0.190 seconds to his credit. With Rea second Davies was third, by only 0.314 seconds from Tom, in another thrilling WorldSBK contest for the fans trackside and at home on TV to enjoy.
The second 1-2 in two days for Kawasaki’s official entrants also gives the KRT riders a 1-2 in the championship, with Rea in the lead by 29 points and Sykes a point clear of Michael van Der Mark after four races.
“The first win of the year for me and I really had to fight for it. I am happy because Jonathan is at an incredible level in this circuit and we have much such a big step from last year – so I really have to thank all of the boys. They have worked really hard in the winter and even now we are still learning. It was a great race, a great battle. It makes it more satisfying because from about lap six I was struggling with understeer from the front so my corner speed was lower than I wanted. I saw on the big screens at one stage that there were some great riders behind, giving me great pressure, so I had to re-think how to manage the race. To hold on to the win after so-so long is such a great feeling.”