Jonathan Rea makes it four in a row in Thailand
Aiden Wagner takes eighth and Lachlan Epis 12th in World Supersport

The second round of the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship concluded with another superb victory for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) on Sunday at the Chang International Circuit in Race 2.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - The WSBK field led by Melandri
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – The WSBK field led by Melandri

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) filled the remaining positions on the podium.

In a restarted fourth race of the season, Rea took a brilliant win by just over four seconds from Sykes, to continue a brilliant start to the season for the Northern Irishman. Sykes made it a Kawasaki one-two with a last lap move on Melandri.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Jonathan Rea
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Jonathan Rea

In the original Sunday race a big crash for Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) at turn 12 just after a technical fault saw the red flag come out due to track conditions, with debris left on track by the Italian’s accident.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Rea leads Melandri and Sykes
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Rea leads Melandri and Sykes

After a quick restart procedure the riders did battle over 16 laps, with
Rea taking control as he got away from the front of the grid, which was based on the positions at the end of the fourth lap of the earlier curtailed race.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Melandri leading Sykes
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Melandri leading Sykes

In the first race start Rea had shot up from ninth on the grid to soon contest the lead with Melandri who had started well from pole, with the World Champion taking over from the Italian at the front on the fourth lap.

After the race restart Melandri could not hold Rea back with the Kawasaki man charging away as the laps progressed, with Sykes eventually also getting the better of the Ducati man.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Jonathan Rea

[wp_bannerize group=”full_width” random=”1" limit=”1"]

Jonathan Rea – 1st

“The best start to a season ever in my career. It is important to maximise these points when we can because it is how I built my championships in the past. When we can win, make sure we win, and then we can try and consolidate. These four victories are nearly halfway to my win tally from last year already! It is a good start and I just feel comfortable on the bike. We took the bike set-up we had from Phillip Island to here and it just pretty much worked. That is unheard of, so I have a good bond with the bike. There are still some areas we need to improve for the coming races but KHI are working hard on this. We expect to improve the bike again in the next races. This is a massive thanks to all my team, they’ve been working relentlessly so these race wins are for them.”

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Tom Sykes
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Tom Sykes
Tom Sykes – 2nd

“We struggled all weekend a little bit, I’ve been working hard over the winter to try and overcome some limitations. I just had to change the way I ride and it shows, because on the last lap I did my fastest lap of the race, so it was all about making the smartest move possible at the end. I could see Marco had some limitations so on the last lap I knew I had a margin. He was faster than me in the twisty section before the last corner so I had to put the lap together. Finally on the last lap on my dashboard there was 1’33.7, which was the fastest of my whole race. We still have to find a little bit more from our package. I am slowly getting there and consistency has pretty much been there. We keep closing the gap but we need to try and close it a bit faster.”

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Marco Melandri
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Marco Melandri
Marco Melandri – 3rd 

“This has been a good weekend for us. In such difficult conditions, on a new track for me, it feels good to be close to the front. Being passed at the very last turn in both races isn’t ideal, but I struggled with braking since the first free-practice session and it wasn’t possible to be more aggressive in what is the most critical corner of the circuit. That said, the team has done a great job. We still lack something, but we have some good ideas and we’ll keep pushing at 100 percent to reach our rivals. I expect to do so already in Aragon. Thanks to my team and I can’t wait to be back on the podium again.”

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Melandri leading Sykes
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Melandri leading Sykes

Thanks to a perfect start to 2017 defending champion Rea now leads the championship by 30 points from Davies, ahead of the third round of the season at Aragon in three weeks time.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Jonathan Rea
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Rea leading Alex Lowes

Meanwhile, the Motul Thai Round was a successful weekend for Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) who finished Sunday’s race six seconds off the podium in fourth, having finished sixth in Race 1. Spaniard Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) followed the Englishman across the line for fifth.

Alex Lowes – 4th

“Overall it was a good weekend for me. The team did a great job with the bike! I didn’t have the best first two or three laps so I lost the connection with the front group when Eugene Laverty passed me but I managed to get past him again, but the front group were just too fast. Perhaps if I would have been there at the start, I could have challenged them a bit more. The two flyaway races have gone well for me overall, and it has been a solid start of the season. I feel confident for Aragon. There is still a lot I can improve in myself and there are things the team can improve on the bike, so we can go away for a couple of days rest and then start working toward the next race.”

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Jordi Torres
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Jordi Torres
Jordi Torres – 5th

“In the first ‘heat’ we started well and I was making good progress so it was pity about the restart after Savadori crashed because we were in fifth place at the time. After the restart, from seventh, I started to push and got into a really good rhythm, getting past several riders. I gave 100% in the race, more even, as I knew Davies was closing in on me at the end, and we were able to finish fifth, a great result, which I’m very pleased with.”

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri

A solid performance by Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) after the restart saw him fight through the pack from 19th to eventually finish sixth – having gone down on lap three at the third corner in the initial race, losing the front end and rejoining at the back of the field.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Chaz Davies
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Chaz Davies
Chaz Davies – 6th

“I was following Marco but I misjudged his speed a little bit so I went to the outside. For me the rear always locks there, but that time it did it more than usual, perhaps because I was on a dirty part of the track, and couldn’t recover the grip. Finishing sixth is a salvage after the crash, but we could have been close to the podium at the restart. Unfortunately, we had some issues with the throttle after some parts were changed for safety. Still, we have many more points than after two rounds last year, and now we’ll go to more favorable tracks. The championship is long.”

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri
Serafino Foti – Aruba.it Racing Team Manager

“This has been a tough weekend, mostly because of the high temperatures. It’s unfortunate that Chaz crashed in Race 2. Still, we were lucky because the red flags allowed us to collect precious points with him. Chaz is a fighter, and I’m sure he will be back at the top in Aragon. Marco rode a strong race. Unfortunately he missed second place at the last corner, but he deserved the podium despite having struggled to stop the bike all weekend. We’re happy with his season start: he’s always been with the frontrunners, and his feeling with the bike is growing every day. We need to stay focused and work hard to improve ahead of Aragon, a track where we’ve always been competitive.”

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Nicky Hayden
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Nicky Hayden

Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team), Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team) completed the top ten.

Nicky Hayden – 7th

“The bike worked much better after the red flag and I was actually able to do my best lap-times of the weekend. We had a couple of good laps and I was quite consistent; I found myself in that group fighting for fifth place but then Leon’s bike started to blowing some smoke and all I did was trying to stay out of trouble. That cost me some time and when he retired I had already lost touch to Chaz for sixth place, so after that it was a lonely race for seventh. Things went a little bit better than yesterday but there is still a lot of work to do to close the gap with the leaders. Hopefully we’ll be able to get up there as soon as possible.”

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Markus Reiterberger
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Markus Reiterberger
Markus Reiterberger – 10th

“Top ten sounds OK but there were also several crashes for other riders. The first laps were again not so good. I ran a little wide in traffic early on and lost too much time there. Then I was following Krummenacher and was worried when I saw him losing water. After he moved away, I tried to focus as much as possible and maintain a constant pace, which wasn’t so bad. I definitely need to work on my performance through the opening laps though, and also improve my feeling with the bike. I’m feeling positive and thank my team for their hard work here this weekend.”

Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) missed out on the points due to technical issues with his bike, which meant he was unable to take part in the restarted race.

Michael van der Mark – 11th

“We had a technical problem with the bike in race two, which was a pity after all our good work. In the morning warm up we tried something on the bike set-up but I was not so keen on it so we went back to a set up almost similar to what we had yesterday. Then we had a red flag. It was a shame because yesterday was really good. I had a feeling that today would be the same, or even better, for both Alex and myself, but that is racing. At least this weekend I was fast from the start and hopefully we can continue this kind of form in Moorland Aragon.”

Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) unfortunately crashed out at turn 12 after five laps of the restarted contest and did not finish, whilst Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) had to retire midway through the 16-lap second race of the afternoon due to a mechanical issue.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Eugene Laverty
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Eugene Laverty

Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) crashed out of fifth under pressure from Torres at turn 6 with eight laps to go, whilst Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was advised by the marshals to stop six laps from the end of the race with smoke pouring from his MV Agusta 1000 F4 machine.

Eugene Laverty – 15th

“The first half of the race was difficult as I started so far back, so I was extra aggressive to make up places. I was braking harder than usual in some places and worked the front hard, and in a way the red flag gave me time to regroup. After the restart the conditions were slippery so the front tyre was moving a lot. I had a lot of warnings and I tried to settle into my position, but I lost the front so many times and finally after 8 laps I crashed. It’s not nice to ride like this where you can’t push 100% without crashing, but we know where we have to improve. We’ve had so little time between Phillip Island and Chang to develop, but we’ve got some upgrades and new ideas coming for Aragon and I’m confident that we can make a big step forward.”

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Stefan Bradl
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Stefan Bradl
Stefan Bradl – DNF

“Unfortunately today I made a mistake and crashed: when Davies got past I did my best to stay with him but I hit the brakes a little bit too late and didn’t release them early enough before ending up on the bump in the middle of turn 12. It’s a shame, because we could have easily have scored another top-10 result if not better. Now we must stay focused and keep working hard ahead of Aragón: we are heading to the European part of the season and I hope we can make some bigger improvement before the next race.”

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Lorenzo Savadori
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Lorenzo Savadori
Lorenzo Savadori – DNF

“It has not been an easy weekend for me, with different technical issues in Race 1 and Race 2. Today I started far back which meant I had to push, but I was in the fight for a few laps. I had a technical problem which led to me to crash; I am not sure yet exactly what happened, and is something we need to look at. The crash was pretty big, but I am OK and I am thankful to my helmet, suit We are looking forward to Aragon now. We have some hard work to do to move forward, but I know that I am in good hands with SMR and Aprilia Racing. There are new things for us to try in Spain, and I think we will make good progress.”

The WorldSBK riders return to action over the 31st March – 2nd April weekend at the aforementioned Pirelli Aragón Round, the third round of the 2017 season.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - Race 2 Podium - Rea, Sykes, Melandri
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – Race 2 Podium – Rea, Sykes, Melandri
WorldSBK Race 2 standings
  1. J. REA – GBR – Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R
  2. T. SYKES – GBR – Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R
  3. M. MELANDRI – ITA – Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Ducati Panigale R
  4. A. LOWES – GBR – Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Yamaha YZF R1
  5. J. TORRES – ESP – Althea BMW Racing Team BMW S 1000 RR
  6. C. DAVIES – GBR – Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Ducati Panigale R
  7. N. HAYDEN – USA – Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team Honda CBR1000RR
  8. X. FORÉS – ESP – BARNI Racing Team Ducati Panigale R
  9. R. RAMOS – ESP – Team Kawasaki Go Eleven Kawasaki ZX-10R
  10. M. REITERBERGER – GER – Althea BMW Racing Team BMW S 1000 RR
  11. A. DE ANGELIS – RSM – Pedercini Racing SC-Project Kawasaki ZX-10R
  12. R. RUSSO – ITA – Guandalini Racing Yamaha YZF R1
  13. O. JEZEK – CZE – Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R
  14. A. BADOVINI – ITA – Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R
  15. E. LAVERTY – IRL – Milwaukee Aprilia Aprilia RSV4 RF
WorldSBK Round 2 Championship Standings
  1. Jonathan Rea – 100 – Kawasaki
  2. Chaz Davies – 70 – Ducati
  3. Tom Sykes – 62 – Kawasaki
  4. Alex Lowes – 49 – Yamaha
  5. Marco Melandri – 45 – Ducati
  6. Xavi Forés – 34 – Ducati
  7. Jordi Torres – 29 – BMW
  8. Michael Van Der Mark – 27 – Yamaha
  9. Leon Camier – 27 – MV Agusta
  10. Nicky Hayden – 21 – Honda
  11. Eugene Laverty – 15 – Aprilia
  12. Markus Reiterberger – 15 – BMW
  13. Román Ramos – 13 – Kawasaki
  14. Alex De Angelis – 12 – Kawasaki
  15. Lorenzo Savadori – 10 – Aprilia
  16. Randy Krummenacher – 10 – Kawasaki
  17. Stefan Bradl – 8 – Honda
  18. Riccardo Russo – 4 – Yamaha
  19. Joshua Brookes – 4 – Yamaha
  20. Ondrej Jezek – 3 – Kawasaki
  21. Ayrton Badovini – 2 – Kawsaki

 


WSSP: Caricasulo leads full Yamaha podium victory in Thailand

In a dramatic and incident packed World Supersport race in Thailand on Sunday it was Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) who took a superb win in the heat of the Chang International Circuit, with Thai wild card Decha Kraisart (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) and Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) also on the podium.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - SSP - Ryde chases down Jacobsen
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – SSP – Ryde chases down Jacobsen

Late drama saw Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini) in the hunt for the victory but the Honda rider was disqualified on the last lap for failing to react to a ride through, after an earlier penalty in which he was requested to concede three positions due to unsporting behaviour.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - SSP - Canducci, Smith and Warokorn
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – SSP – Canducci, Smith and Warokorn

Caricasulo took advantage for a great win by 0.793s from the impressive Kraisart, with 2016 sensation Tuuli three seconds behind the race winner in third.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - SSP - Federico Caricasulo
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – SSP – Federico Caricasulo

Caricasulo had taken over the lead with seven laps to go, with the leader up until that point Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) retiring from the race seconds later due to a technical fault having led from pole from the start.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - SSP - A win for Federico Caricasulo after a DNF in Australia
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – SSP – A win for Federico Caricasulo after a DNF in Australia
Federico Caricasulo – 1st

“I am so happy because today I made a very good race from the first to the last lap. On the final lap I made a little gap from my competitors. The conditions were very hard so I am happy to win here. It is very important now to continue all the races like this, fighting for wins, if I want to take a good place in the championship at the end. All weekend, after the experience of not finishing in Australia I worked to make sure I would be able to make good lap times all race long, and in all conditions. I did it like this and we won. I want to thank Yamaha and all in my GRT team who worked well on the weekend to find a good set-up for my bike after a difficult start.”

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - SSP - Canducci and Warokorn
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – SSP – Canducci and Warokorn

Thai rider Thitipong Warokorn (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) produced a superb result in fourth place, riding as a substitute for injured world champion Kenan Sofuoglu who is expected to return to action at round three in Spain.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - SSP - Warokorn
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – SSP – Warokorn
Thitipong Warokorn – 4th

“It was an incredible race. I put a lot of effort into it because it is my home race and all my fan club and sponsors were here. The Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team gave me the opportunity to do my best. There were a lot of riders in front of me and it was difficult to overtake, but I passed them one at a time and then took one more place in the last corner for fourth. I could hear the crowd a little bit but I could see them and my fan club cheering for me. Many thanks to Kawasaki and to Manuel Puccetti for this opportunity. I did my best and took a not so bad finishing position. ”

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - SSP - Ryde leads Okubo and Canducci
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – SSP – Ryde leads Okubo and Canducci

Meanwhile, fellow Kawasaki Puccetti Racing man Kyle Ryde was fifth in a hectic Thai race which took place in sweltering 37°C temperatures.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - SSP - Ryde
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – SSP – Ryde
Kyle Ryde – 5th

“I cannot argue with a top five. I am really happy that I was not that far behind first place. I was really nervous this morning because I was not particularly fast in warm up but I was seven seconds from the win. It is great be running in the front group but this weekend has been very hot. I thought I was quite fit but I think I will need to be a bit fitter for next time here. The last five laps were hard and even harder when there are people behind you. It was a good race. It was a great job from the team and I would like to say a big thanks to Andrew Pitt because yesterday and on raceday he has really helped with last year’s experience with Kenan and Randy. It all counts to get that fifth place.”

Also in the top ten were Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing), Aiden Wagner (GEMAR Team Lorini), Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Robin Mulhauser (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda).

Aiden Wagner – 8th

“Tough race today, eighth place which is great to take home some championship points again, but the heat played havoc with tyre grip and brakes for me big time. A little disappointing when we had been right there all weekend. Thanks to my crew once again for all their hard work, couldn’t do it without them! We have direction and determination coming into Round 3 and the European rounds to come, I cant wait.”

Aussie Lachlan Epis took 12th on his Kawasaki, and was excited with the result despite trying conditions.

Lachlan Epis – 12th

“I was caught on the last corner, placing 12th! Still an awesome effort, especially considering this ridiculous heat. Now for a well deserved ice bath.”

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - SSP - Federico Caricasulo chases down Jacobsen
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – SSP – Federico Caricasulo chases down Jacobsen

In close succession early in the race Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) were forced out with technical problems and then Thai wild card Chalermpol Polamai (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) crashed out, having started second on the grid.

Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was given a ride through penalty due to finishing the warm up lap after the safety car, but failed to react to the penalty notification from the stewards and was subsequently disqualified.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - SSP field
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – SSP field

Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing) crashed out of second place with 12 laps to go, with Smith in close proximity.

Smith then had two run-offs and dropped down the order, fighting back with great pace before his late disqualification.

The WorldSSP riders will be back in action over the 31st March – 2nd April weekend at the Pirelli Aragón Round, the third round of the 2017 season.

WorldSBK 2017 - Thailand - SSP - Podium: Caricasulo (1), Kraisart (2), Tuuli (3)
WorldSBK 2017 – Thailand – SSP – Podium: Caricasulo (1), Kraisart (2), Tuuli (3)
World SSP Race Results
  1. Caricasulo – ITA – GRT Yamaha Official Worldssp Team – Yamaha YZF-R6
  2. Kraisart – THA – Yamaha Thailand Racing Team – Yamaha YZF-R6
  3. Tuuli – FIN – Kallio Racing – Yamaha YZF-R6
  4. Warokorn – THA – Kawasaki Puccetti Racing – Kawasaki ZX-6R
  5. Ryde – GBR – Kawasaki Puccetti Racing – Kawasaki ZX-6R
  6. Okubo – JPN – CIA Landlord Insurance Honda – Honda CBR600RR
  7. Morais – RSA – Kallio Racing – Yamaha YZF-R6
  8. Wagner – AUS – Gemar Team Lorini – Honda CBR600RR
  9. Watanabe – JPN – Team Kawasaki Go Eleven – Kawasaki ZX-6R
  10. Mulhauser – SUI – CIA Landlord Insurance Honda – Honda CBR600RR
  11. Rolfo – ITA – Team Factory Vamag – MV Agusta F3 675
  12. Epis – AUS – Response Re Racing – Kawasaki ZX-6R
  13. Calero – ESP – Orelac Racing Verdnatura – Kawasaki ZX-6R
  14. Pizzoli – ITA – Race Department Atk#25 – MV Agusta F3 675
 World SSP Standings after Round 2
  1. Roberto Rolfo – 30 – MV Agusta
  2. Niki Tuuli – 27 – Yamaha
  3. Federico Caricasulo – 25 – Yamaha
  4. Kyle Ryde – 24 – Kawasaki
  5. Decha Kraisart – 20 – Yamaha
  6. Lucas Mahias – 20 – Yamaha
  7. Aiden Wagner – 17 – Honda
  8. Anthony West – 16 – Yamaha
  9. Kazuki Watanabe – 15 – Kawasaki
  10. Sheridan Morais – 14 – Yamaha
  11. Thitipong Warokorn – 13 – Kawasaki
  12. Hikari Okubo – 10 – Honda
  13. Pj Jacobsen – 10 – MV Agusta
  14. Nacho Calero – 10 – Kawasaki
  15. Lachlan Epis – 10 – Kawasaki
  16. Robin Mulhauser – 6 – Honda
  17. Zulfahmi Khairuddin – 4 – Kawasaki
  18. Alex Baldolini – 3 – MV Agusta
  19. Davide Pizzoli – 2 – MV Agusta
  20. Michael Canducci – 2 – Kawasaki