Tom Sykes claimed his first World Superbike victory since Thailand with a dominant display in race one at Sepang. The 2013 champion ended a six-race winning drought in fine style, leading every lap on his way to victory by over five seconds from Kawasaki teammate Jonathan Rea.
The weekend hadn’t got off to the best start for Sykes who ended Friday practice in eleventh spot, forcing him to compete in SP1 on Saturday morning but the Yorkshireman unleashed his true pace when it mattered, not only advancing to the second session, but claiming pole position by 0.756s from PATA Yamaha’s Alex Lowes.
At the start, Lowes outdragged the Kawasakis on the run to the first corner, putting Yamaha in the lead of a World Superbike race for the first time since their comeback. Their joy would be short-lived though with Sykes outbraking the Lincolnshire man into the re-profiled final corner while Rea and Ducati’s Chaz Davies soon demoted him to fourth at the start of lap two.
On the first flying lap, Sykes was a full second faster than his rivals and despite his previous tyre woes, the pole-man didn’t lose ground or grip in the closing stages, maintaining a 5.600s lead over Rea. Davies proved unable to hit the heights of Imola two weeks ago, finishing eight seconds down in third, while Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres held off Lowes for a fine fourth.
Davide Giugliano was sixth ahead of the Hondas of Michael van der Mark and Nicky Hayden while Pedercini stand-in Anthony West rode superbly to take ninth, just ahead of Leon Camier’s MV Agusta.
WorldSBK 2016: Fassi Malaysian Round – Race One Result
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