Tom Sykes breathed new life into his World Superbike Championship challenge with a nail-biting victory in race two at Laguna Seca. The Yorkshireman held off the Ducatis of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies for a hard-fought win and with Jonathan Rea forced to retire through mechanical problems, Sykes has closed to within 46 points of his teammate in the title chase.
Giugliano looked a threat from the start with the Italian storming past polesitter Sykes for the lead on lap three but a heavy crash for Team Toth’s Pavel Szkopek brought out the red flags, stopping Davide in his tracks. At the restart, Giugliano moved straight into the lead but an astonishing sequence saw both Kawasakis power past into the Corkscrew on lap four.
After a short battle with his teammate, Rea emerged ahead but the championship leader’s 100% podium record for the season would grind to a halt along with his ZX-10R on lap six. The Ulsterman had already tumbled to tenth after running wide at turn six but the extent of his problems soon became apparent when the motorcycle coasted to a stop.
Sykes regained the lead from the two Aruba Ducatis but the Kawasaki was unable to distance the Panigale machines, leaving the 2013 champion to withstand relentless late pressure. In the end, the Ducati duo were too busy squabbling with each other to launch an attack on the leader with Davies diving through into second on three consecutive laps, only to be repassed immediately by Giugliano. Sykes held his nerve just ahead to claim his fifth win of the year.
Xavi Fores edged out home favourite Nicky Hayden for fourth while Jordi Torres finished sixth on the leading Althea BMW. Michael van der Mark, who crashed at the Corkscrew before the red flag and had to take the restart from the back of the grid, finished a superb seventh while Niccolo Canepa took eighth after his PATA Yamaha teammate Alex Lowes fell at the final bend.
WorldSBK 2016: GEICO US Round – Race Two Result
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