Tom Sykes claimed another remarkable double victory in World Superbikes at Donington Park today (Sunday), making it six wins in a row at Donington Park. Sykes was also a double winner in 2013 and 2014, with this year’s triumphs announcing his season is well and truly back on track.
It was a glorious day for British riders, with home grown heroes locking out the podium in both Superbike races.
Sykes triumphed in the day’s thrilling opening World Superbike race after a tense scrap with team mate and championship leader Jonathan Rea. Sykes started from pole position but was bumped down to second on the opening lap when Donington-supported Leon Haslam slipped into the lead at the Old Hairpin, after making a great start from fourth on the grid.
Haslam’s lead lasted just a lap though, as Rea fought his way past at Redgate on lap two. Sykes then found his way past Haslam on lap four, and then set his sights on Rea. Under pressure, Rea ran wide at the Old Hairpin and Sykes took the lead. In the first move of a thrilling scrap between the two riders, Rea fought back past only for Sykes to then retake the lead at the Melbourne hairpin.
Looking to regain the advantage, Rea tried an ambitious move at Goddards and outbraked himself, almost wiping out his team mate. Rea set a new circuit lap record and again tried to make a move, this time at the Melbourne hairpin, but Sykes fought back once more, with the pair almost touching again.
Rea made a move stick next time around at Melbourne, and Sykes tried to fight back at Goddards, with the pair almost certainly making contact. Sportingly Rea waved Sykes through and from there, Sykes stretched out an advantage of over three seconds to take his fifth consecutive victory at Donington. Rea came home second ahead of Chaz Davies, making it the first British 1-2-3 World Superbike result at Donington. Haslam settled for fourth, still nursing the rib injuries sustained at Imola, with Ayrton Badovini fifth after a late pass on home rider Alex Lowes who finished sixth.
Sykes then made it a third consecutive double victory with a dominant win in the second race, finishing ahead of team mate Rea once more, despite a dramatic incident for the Northern Irishman on the first lap at Coppice. Rea somehow kept control of the bike, and despite falling back a few places, was able to fight his way back onto the podium. Chaz Davies claimed third on the Ducati, meaning the podium for race two was exactly the same as in race one.
Derbyshire’s Haslam again ran towards the front in the early stages, only to drop back slightly in the latter stages, and finishing fourth for the second time after fighting his way past Davide Giugliano. Alex Lowes was sixth, making it five Brits in the top six once more.
“It’s been a perfect weekend” Sykes commented. “We dug deep in race two as I saw Jonathan claimed the lap record in race one so I pushed hard to get that in race two and take fastest lap. We were beaten at Imola but it’s been a great weekend and the whole of Kawasaki has done a great job with 1-2s in qualifying and both races. I’m really pleased and I feel I’ve turned the corner and we can now focus on the rest of the season.”