Tom Sykes claimed an unprecedented ninth victory in succession at Donington Park in a dramatic opening race on Saturday. The Yorkshireman, who has taken the double in each of the last four years here, was given a clear run to victory when team-mate Jonathan Rea crashed out with a rear tyre problem, shortly after Sykes had passed him for the lead.
True to form, Sykes had eased to pole position earlier in the day but the lead didn’t last long as Chaz Davies stormed past into Redgate on lap one. There was chaos behind though as wildcard entrant Leon Haslam pushed Eugene Laverty wide into Alex Lowes, relegating the Yamaha rider to eighteenth.
Rea soon established superiority over Sykes with a sensational move through the Craner curves on lap two, while an attempt to respond saw Tom fall two seconds behind. Rea’s bravery would soon be rewarded with the lead as Davies, who had been setting a rapid pace at the front, lost the front end of his Ducati at Goddards, just as he had a year ago.
Sykes was now up to second but still had plenty of empty tarmac between himself and the leader. The no.66 soon upped the pace though to reel the world champion in by half-distance and with six laps remaining, dived up the inside into the Melbourne loop. Rea immediately fell away from his team-mate, losing three seconds per lap, and the reason for his lack of pace became evident on lap 21 when the rear tyre came loose from the rim approaching the Old Hairpin, triggering a terrifying crash which he thankfully walked away from.
The high-profile retirements promoted BSB championship leader Leon Haslam to second while Alex Lowes was rewarded for a stunning recovery ride with third thanks to a last-lap error from Marco Melandri, Lowes’ and Yamaha’s first podium of 2017. Michael van der Mark was fifth ahead of Leon Camier and Leandro Mercado while Chaz Davies remounted to salvage eighth.
WorldSBK 2017: UK Round – Race One Result
|1||66. Tom Sykes||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||33:56.457||25|
|2||91. Leon Haslam||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Puccetti Racing||+16.500||20|
|3||22. Alex Lowes||Yamaha||Pata Yamaha Official WSBK Team||+19.170||16|
|4||33. Marco Melandri||Ducati||Aruba.it Racing – Ducati||+19.699||13|
|5||60. Michael van der Mark||Yamaha||Pata Yamaha Official WSBK Team||+21.454||11|
|6||2. Leon Camier||MV Agusta||MV Agusta Reparto Corse||+23.376||10|
|7||36. Leandro Mercado||Aprilia||IODARacing||+24.979||9|
|8||7. Chaz Davies||Ducati||Aruba.it Racing – Ducati||+26.988||8|
|9||81. Jordi Torres||BMW||Althea BMW Racing Team||+34.910||7|
|10||12. Xavi Fores||Ducati||BARNI Racing Team||+35.178||6|
|11||40. Roman Ramos||Kawasaki||Team Kawasaki GoEleven||+38.585||5|
|12||32. Lorenzo Savadori||Aprilia||Milwaukee Aprilia||+39.824||4|
|13||50. Eugene Laverty||Aprilia||Milwaukee Aprilia||+44.623||3|
|14||88. R. Krummenacher||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Puccetti Racing||+52.539||2|
|15||35. Raffaele de Rosa||BMW||Althea BMW Racing Team||+58.875||1|
|16||86. Ayrton Badovini||Kawasaki||Grillini Racing Team||+1:03.994|
|17||15. Alex de Angelis||Kawasaki||Pedercini Racing SC-Project||+1:06.816|
|18||37. Ondrej Jezek||Kawasaki||Grillini Racing Team||+1:14.800|
|NC||1. Jonathan Rea||Kawasaki||Kawasaki Racing Team||+3 Laps|
|NC||6. Stefan Bradl||Honda||Red Bull Honda WorldSBK Team||+7 Laps|
|NC||27. Jake Dixon||Kawasaki||Royal Air Force Reg. & Res.||+7 Laps|
|NC||84. Riccardo Russo||Yamaha||Guandalini Racing||+9 Laps|