Kawasaki Motors Press Release: Another electrifying 20-lap race between KRT’s Superbike World Championship competitors Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea saw Sykes win his first race of the year on the all-new Ninja ZX-10R, with Rea just 0.190 seconds behind at the flag. Rea leaves Thailand with 95 points and the series lead while Sykes moved up to second overall today, with 66 points to his credit.
The weekend at the Chang International Circuit will go down as a double 1-2 event for Kawasaki with Rea winning race one on Saturday from Sykes, and that order being overturned after a combative contest around the 4.554km circuit in the heat of the afternoon on Sunday 13th March.
Rea set the fastest lap of the Sunday race, on lap five, as he chased early leader Sykes. Rea was to lead for a time, and then pass Sykes again at some points, only to be re-passed on the way out.
Sykes and Rea looked to have the race between them for most of the race distance but Chaz Davies arrived towards the end and made the battle for the podium places even more complicated.
There was more than one attempt from Jonathan to pass Tom at the end but Sykes defended his position and ended up winning the short run to the finish line from the final right hand corner, with a small advantage of 0.190 seconds to his credit. With Rea second Davies was third, by only 0.314 seconds from Tom, in another thrilling WorldSBK contest for the fans trackside and at home on TV to enjoy.
The second 1-2 in two days for Kawasaki’s official entrants also gives the KRT riders a 1-2 in the championship, with Rea in the lead by 29 points and Sykes a point clear of Michael van Der Mark after four races.
Kawasaki riders have won all of the 2016 season races so far, making a perfect total of 100 points in the Manufacturers’ Championship. Yesterday Jonathan Rea moved to a lone fifth in the all-time race winners’ tally, with 32 career wins. Today Tom drew himself seventh equal in the same ranking, with 27 career victories.
The KRT squad’s European home base in Spain is where the championship will relocate for the next round, at the magnificent Motorland Aragon circuit. Race weekend will be held between 1st and 3rd April.
Tom Sykes stated: “The first win of the year for me and I really had to fight for it. I am happy because Jonathan is at an incredible level in this circuit and we have much such a big step from last year – so I really have to thank all of the boys. They have worked really hard in the winter and even now we are still learning. It was a great race, a great battle. It makes it more satisfying because from about lap six I was struggling with understeer from the front so my corner speed was lower than I wanted. I saw on the big screens at one stage that there were some great riders behind, giving me great pressure, so I had to re-think how to manage the race. To hold on to the win after so-so long is such a great feeling.”
Jonathan Rea stated: “We made a small improvement today in the bike set-up and from ten laps to go I feel I had a much higher pace than Tom. I really wanted to win and I tried two or three times but to win a race against Tom when he is strong, and defending very well, you have to go really deep. Massive credit to him; he did a good job today and beat us flat out. It is good for Kawasaki to have a 1-2 although I would prefer to be the guy in front. Fair play to Tom because I was over my head to win the race yesterday but today I tried my best and got beat. I am sure it was a nice show to watch. We increased our championship lead from Phillip Island and it has been a good day, but I just wanted to win the race. To get beaten is really great for my motivation.”
Roman Ramos (GOELEVEN Kawasaki) placed himself 12th in today’s race and also in the championship points standings. Sylvain Barrier (Pedercini Kawasaki) was 17th in race two and Dominic Schmitter (Grillini Racing Team) 19th. Saeed Al Sulaiti (Pedercini Kawasaki) retired.