SBK Donington Park Race One: Champion’s Ride From Sykes

Tom Sykes stormed through from eleventh at the end of the first lap to take a sensational victory in race one at Donington Park. The reigning champion chased down his Kawasaki teammate Loris Baz before denying the Frenchman in a thrilling late tussle.

Sykes was already in a tricky spot after his poor result in Superpole but a difficult opening lap made his task even tougher. The Kawasaki rider made short work of Toni Elias to break into the top ten but needed a crash for the unfortunate Eugene Laverty to move him up any further in the early laps.

Tom sprung into life on lap eight with a terrific double move at Redgate, passing Leon Haslam and Chaz Davies in a single manoeuvre and the Yorkshireman only had to wait until the Fogarty Esses to snatch sixth from Jonathan Rea. The factory Aprilias stood in his way next but Sykes was relentless in his charge through the field, taking Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri in consecutive laps. Progress would be tougher from here though with the leading trio of Baz, Davide Giugliano and Alex Lowes had made a slight break ahead.

Polesitter Giugliano removed himself as a potential obstacle by crashing on lap sixteen before a fading Lowes fell victim a lap later but with much more than race victory at stake, Baz was in no mood to make life easy when his teammate approached him. Tom hit the front for the first time at Goddards on lap twenty but Loris’ speed through the Craner Curves put him in perfect position for a reply at the Old Hairpin. Sykes took advantage of slip at the Fogarty Esses to regain the lead at the Melbourne loop and after Baz’s second counter attack failed, victory was secured.

Lowes claimed his first dry weather rostrum in world superbikes with third ahead of Melandri with Chaz Davies and Jonathan Rea completing the top six, the Ulsterman losing the championship lead as a result. Having slid off track when Sykes motored past him, Sylvain Guintoli fell to seventh ahead of Leon Haslam, Toni Elias and EVO winner David Salom.