RIZLA SUZUKIS Tom Sykes kept his cool during a red flagged aggregated race one at the 11th round of the World Superbike Championship at Donington Park today to take a close second place to Troy Bayliss after leading for a large part of the race.
A dry opening race got off to an excellent start with Sykes immediately slotting into second place. In the early stages he set the pace for six laps running and snatched the lead from double World Champion Bayliss at Coppice on lap seven.
Sykess Rizla Suzuki had awesome pace and the Huddersfield rider pulled a gap of 3.9 seconds over Bayliss before the race was red flagged due to oil on the circuit. The grid re-formed with the riders taking their place according to race positions at the point of the red flag, giving Sykes pole position.
He got away well in the restart taking the hole-shot but was passed by Bayliss after a slide going into the first corner. Shortly after that two riders crashed in front of him at the Esses slowing him further. His hard-riding kept Bayliss honest for the remainder of the race before a down-pour with two laps to go meant it was cut short gifting the win to the World Champion elect by 1.266secs.
Race two was hit by a deluge of rain while the riders were forming on the grid. Sykess Rizla Suzuki technicians worked hard to adjust his machine to the treacherous conditions but ran out of time. Battling the conditions and the dry settings on his GSX-R1000, he had to settle for 10th place, while Ryuichi Kiyonari took the win.
The 10th round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship takes place at Croft in North Yorkshire on the 12th-14th September where Sykes will be concentrating on consolidating his second place in the Championship.
The first part of race one all went to plan and it was fantastic. I was watching the time on my board increasing with Troy behind and I felt I had good pace. The red flag was frustrating but I hid it well and composed myself. I got a clean start grabbing the hole-shot, but a slide and an incident at the Esses allowed Troy to get past me and then get away.
Race two was a tough one but what can you do in conditions like that, I just kept it steady as I was struggling for grip. Overall it has been a good day, Ive taken a podium at World level, weve gained some valuable wet settings and Im now looking to Croft. Id like to say a big thank you to all of the Rizla Suzuki team and the fans, this has been a brilliant experience.
Jack Valentine, Team Manager Rizla Suzuki:
Tom has taken his first World Superbike podium and it is all credit to him and the Rizla Suzuki team well done. I am sure if the race had not been red flagged he would have won it he has shown just what a good rider he is and what the Rizla Suzuki team is capable of.
Race two was a bit of a let-down but given the weather conditions Tom did his best; well chalk it up to experience and move on. Everyone is on a high now following Toms debut World Superbike podium so we cant wait to get to Croft and continue with the British Championship.
Race One Results:
1: Troy Bayliss, AUS, (Ducati) 1:31.814
2: TOM SYKES, GBR, (RIZLA SUZUKI) +1.266
3: Max Biaggi, ITA, (Ducati) +28.636
4: Gregorio Lavilla, ESP, (Honda) +33.566
5: Yukio Kagayama, JPN, (Suzuki) +35.966
6: Jakub Smrz, CZE, (Ducati) +36.034
7: Fonsi Nieto, ESP, (Suzuki) +36.442
8: Leon Haslam, GBR, (Honda) +41.633
9: Karl Muggeridge, AUS, (Honda) +42.075
10: James Ellison, GBR, (Honda) +43.476
Race Two Results:
1: Ryuichi Kiyonari, JPN, (Honda) 1:43.614
2: Cal Crutchlow, GBR, (Honda) +2.261
3: Troy Corser, AUS, (Yamaha) +9.727
4: James Ellison, GBR, (Honda) +20.227
5: Michel Fabrizio, ITA, (Ducati) +27.475
6: Max Biaggi, ITA, (Ducati) +28.051
7: Gregorio Lavilla, ESP, (Honda) +30.922
8: Ruben Xaus, ITA, (Ducati) +38.353
9: Carlos Checa, ITA, (Honda) +50.196
10: TOM SYKES, GBR, (RIZLA SUZUKI) +57.346