World Superbike

SBK Donington Park Race One: Sykes From Start To Finish

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Tom Sykes led every lap of the opening World Superbike race at Donington Park on the way to his second victory of the season. The Yorkshireman was in a class of his own, controlling the action ahead of Marco Melandri who came through to finish second, the Italian rather flattered to be only two seconds behind at the finish.

Sykes would only see a rider ahead of him on one occasion as a fast start and lateness on the brakes saw Sylvain Guintoli make it to Redgate first but as it turned out, the Frenchman had pushed his luck a little too far and he ran wide, allowing Sykes and Jonathan Rea through on the exit. The British pair would eke out a slight advantage over the championship leader with Rea gallantly hanging on to the tail of the Kawasaki but the longer the race went on, the more it seemed to favour Sykes.

As Tom maintained a relentless pace at the front, the Honda faded further and further behind him, allowing Guintoli to take advantage in the process and snatch second at the Esses on lap thirteen. Melandri wouldn’t wait for long before demoted the Ulsterman to fourth with a dive up the inside at the Melbourne loop two laps later before setting his sights on Guintoli’s second place.

The BMW was actually the fastest motorcycle on the track as Sykes stroked it home at the front and Melandri made sure he finished best of the rest with a late move into Goddards on lap seventeen with Guintoli almost losing his Aprilia in the Craner curves as he tried to launch a counter attack. Crucially for the championship though, he would hold off Rea for fourth with Loris Baz a distant fifth on the second factory Kawasaki.

Eugene Laverty lost ground to his teammate in the title chase after a messy race on his Aprilia. The Irishman was at the back of the leading group when he slipped up at the Esses on lap seven, taking a detour through the gravel before re-joining in sixth behind Chaz Davies and although he would get the better of the BMW rider, Davide Giugliano would pass the pair of them to steal sixth, coming close to contact with Laverty on his way through.

The two Leons, Camier and Haslam, both ended up empty handed with Camier having several adventures before eventually retiring after a crash while Haslam was unable even to take the start after medical advice to sit it out.

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MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 and WorldSBK writer for The Checkered Flag. Contact: [email protected]
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