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Well-earned third place finish for Sykes

TOM SYKES pulled off a spectacular third place podium finish for Rizla Suzuki after starting from 13th on the grid at round four of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park.

The Huddersfield rider got off the line well and immediately slotted into sixth place in the blustery conditions at the 2.5 miles GP circuit. He rode hard putting in consistently fast lap times and picking off other riders to achieve his second podium finish of the year. In race two he finished in a close sixth place after being baulked by slower riders early on.

Sykes's team-mate, Atsushi Watanabe, starting from 22nd place on the grid finished 17th in race one and 13th in race two. The two times Japanese Superbike Champion had his work cut out for him with the high winds, but knuckled down to the job in hand and moved forward through the pack as both races unfolded.

Rizla Suzuki now travels to Snetterton in Norfolk for the fifth round of the British Superbike Championship in three weeks time on June 15th.

Tom: "I've got mixed feelings from today; obviously I'm delighted with my podium finish as that is where my Rizla Suzuki team and I should be finishing. Starting from the fourth row of the grid isn't ideal as I usually aim to be on the front row, however in the first race I got away well and battled in the lead group. As for race two, I got a bit beaten up into the first turn and then got caught behind a slower rider who was holding me up. The high winds weren't helping matters either. The podium was encouraging but I still want to do better for myself and my Rizla Suzuki team."

Atsu: "Today was very hard work, it was very windy and I had a lot of riders to try and pass. My aim was to be top 10 but that didn't happen. Next time at Snetterton I hope I can get a better result in both qualifying and the race."

Team Manager Rizla Suzuki, Jack Valentine: "Once again Tom showed what he is capable of, his Rizla Suzuki is working well and we know we have a competitive package. Where we qualified did have an impact on both our races but all in all I was impressed with Tom's superb riding and he made the best of the situation.

"Atsu had a baptism of fire here at Donington with the difficult weather conditions and getting used to the circuit. I had high hopes for him breaking into the top 10 and with a better grid position then I'm sure it would have happened. He has a strong work ethic and will use this as a learning experience before we move on to the next round at Snetterton."

Race one results:

1: Shane Byrne (Ducati) 32:01.058
2: Leon Haslam (Honda) +2.473
4: James Ellison (Honda) +5.856
5: Leon Camier (Ducati) +6.188
6: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +6.636
7: Karl Harris (Yamaha) +7.464
8: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +9.809
9: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) +12.627
10: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +16.246

Race two results:

1: Shane Byrne (Ducati) 31:06.337
2: Leon Haslam (Honda) +0.355
3: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +1.447
4: Leon Camier (Ducati) +1.596
5: James Ellison (Honda) +4.186
7: Karl Harris (Yamaha) +15.703
8: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +26.794
9: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +31.816
10: Gary Mason (Honda) +32.870

Championship Standings

1: Shane Byrne (Ducati) 190
2: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 122
3: Leon Camier (Ducati) 107
4: Leon Haslam (Honda) 96
5: James Ellison (Honda) 88
6: Michael Rutter (Ducati) 82
8: Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) 62
9: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 59
10: Simon Andrews (Honda) 37