SBK Assen Race One: Sykes Reigns Supreme


Tom Sykes kick started his 2013 World Superbike title challenge with a lights-to-flag victory in race one at Assen, his first of the season. Unlike at Aragon last time out, the Yorkshireman was able to carry his Superpole dominance into race day and crush the opposition, beating Jonathan Rea by 8.7s as the Honda rider held off the two factory Aprilias for second.

Kawasaki’s day couldn’t have started much better but BMW’s fortunes were at the other end of the scale. Their problems began in morning warm-up as Chaz Davies wrecked his S1000RR in a crash. The bike was repaired in time for him to start, albeit from the back of the grid, and his teammate Marco Melandri wouldn’t even complete the warm-up lap before losing drive on his machine to the despair of the GoldBet squad.

Sykes didn’t get off to the perfect start as Rea pipped him into turn one but from the moment he dived back through into turn two, nobody saw which way he went, pulling away at up to a second per lap. The action would be found behind with Rea initially being shuffled back to fourth by the Aprilias of Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli on lap eight, only to launch a counter attack late on.

His first opportunity came following a change in the order at Aprilia with Guintoli easing through into turn one on lap fifteen. Rea wouldn’t follow through immediately but a forceful move on the run-up to Ramshoek saw him through before the end of the lap. Guintoli would prove a much tougher nut to crack but Rea would produce another terrific pass at Ramshoek four laps from the finish, scything through as they tipped in to the left hander.

Sylvain made a last ditch effort to snatch back second, initially passing the Honda into turn one on the last lap but Rea, an Assen specialist throughout his career, produced a repeat of his earlier move on Laverty to get the better of the championship leader. Jonathan did run into the final chicane a little too hot but he had just enough of a lead to beat Guintoli to the line with Laverty right behind in fourth.

After a bright start, Davide Giugliano ran with the leaders in the early laps but he eventually fell into the clutches of Loris Baz, losing fifth to the French youngster at half distance. Chaz Davies recovered from his turbulent start to secure seventh with Jules Cluzel and Leon Camier line astern in eighth and ninth for FIXI Crescent Suzuki, beating Carlos Checa’s Ducati Panigale into tenth.. Unlike at Aragon last time out, the Yorkshireman was able to carry his Superpole dominance into race day and crush the opposition, beating Jonathan Rea by 8.7s as the Honda rider held off the two factory Aprilias for second.

Kawasaki’s day couldn’t have started much better but BMW’s fortunes were at the other end of the scale. Their problems began in morning warm-up as Chaz Davies wrecked his S1000RR in a crash. The bike was repaired in time for him to start, albeit from the back of the grid, and his teammate Marco Melandri wouldn’t even complete the warm-up lap before losing drive on his machine to the despair of the GoldBet squad.

Sykes didn’t get off to the perfect start as Rea pipped him into turn one but from the moment he dived back through into turn two, nobody saw which way he went, pulling away at up to a second per lap. The action would be found behind with Rea initially being shuffled back to fourth by the Aprilias of Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli on lap eight, only to launch a counter attack late on.

His first opportunity came following a change in the order at Aprilia with Guintoli easing through into turn one on lap fifteen. Rea wouldn’t follow through immediately but a forceful move on the run-up to Ramshoek saw him through before the end of the lap. Guintoli would prove a much tougher nut to crack but Rea would produce another terrific pass at Ramshoek four laps from the finish, scything through as they tipped in to the left hander.

Sylvain made a last ditch effort to snatch back second, initially passing the Honda into turn one on the last lap but Rea, an Assen specialist throughout his career, produced a repeat of his earlier move on Laverty to get the better of the championship leader. Jonathan did run into the final chicane a little too hot but he had just enough of a lead to beat Guintoli to the line with Laverty right behind in fourth.

After a bright start, Davide Giugliano ran with the leaders in the early laps but he eventually fell into the clutches of Loris Baz, losing fifth to the French youngster at half distance. Chaz Davies recovered from his turbulent start to secure seventh with Jules Cluzel and Leon Camier line astern in eighth and ninth for FIXI Crescent Suzuki, beating Carlos Checa’s Ducati Panigale into tenth.