Double podium for super Sykes
RIZLA SUZUKI'S Tom Sykes took two hard-earned podium places at today's 10th round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Croft in North Yorkshire while his team mate Atsushi Watanabe come home 12th twice.
In the opening dry race Tom got a lightning start and by the end of the first 2.12-mile lap he had taken the lead. He relinquished the front spot by lap seven and then settled into a fight for the last step on the podium, eventually making a tough pass on Ducati's Shane Byrne on the final corner to secure third. Ducati's Leon Camier won the race.
In the second race after making a geometry change on his Rizla Suzuki, Tom was visibly more comfortable. He led from the half-way point until the last two laps when he was passed by eventual winner Leon Haslam on a Honda. He held on to second place and is now a close third in the Championship race behind runaway leader Byrne and Haslam.
Rizla Suzuki travels to Silverstone for the penultimate 11th round of the British Superbike Championship in two weeks times, with the race action taking place on Sunday, 28th September.
Tom: "A big thank you to my Rizla Suzuki crew and to PJ, my Chief Mechanic, they worked hard and made the double podium result possible. In the opening race I was struggling for grip and feel so PJ made some major changes to the chassis geometry for the second race that really worked. I only wish I could have rewarded the boys with a win.
"It's tight in the race for second in the Championship and now I'm four points behind Haslam. I'll be looking to get those points back with interest at the next round and as long as there is a mathematical chance of winning the Championship I am not going to give up, it's still all to play for."
Atsu: "It has been a difficult race day for us and I am not happy with the results, I would prefer to be in top 10. I am OK that my lap times keep improving and my Rizla Suzuki is good but I want better result."
Jack Valentine, Rizla Suzuki Team Manager: "I am happy to have achieved two strong podiums but disappointed that we didn't get a win at the same time. Tom was brilliant in race two but a lack of grip with three laps to go allowed Haslam to nip past him and take the victory. The race for second place in the Championship is going down to the wire and while Shakey is still within reach, then we will keep going for the wins and see what happens.
"Atsu tried hard but ended up in no-man's land. He needs to dig in and get into the group just in front fighting for seventh - 10th and that will bring on his performance. He can run the lap times and has a fast bike so will be eager to score more top 10s in the last two rounds."
Race One Result
1: Leon Camier (Ducati) 27:06.760
Race Two Result
1: Haslam 27:04.305
Championship Positions (after 10 of 12 rounds)
1: Byrne 388