Jonathan Rea Dominates Thai World Superbike round
World Superbike Race One
The first ever World Superbike race to be held in Thailand has been won by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), who dominated the 20-lap encounter at the all-new Chang International Circuit in Buriram. Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) and Rea’s team mate Tom Sykes joined him on the podium.
Rea led from the start, building up a two-second lead over the chasing pack by the end of lap five and winning by 6.329s at the flag. Courtesy of the seventeenth win of his career, the Briton now lies atop the standings with a five-point lead over Haslam.
Former champion Tom Sykes made a great start from the second row, shadowing his team mate for the opening few turns before he was passed by the Aprilia Racing machine of Leon Haslam, who then set about hunting down Kawasaki-mounted Rea.
As the leading two eased away, the battle for 3rd was intense with Sykes, front row qualifier Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) and Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) embroiled in a titanic fight, that saw a number of close overtaking moves around the 4.5km circuit. Davies crashed out of 5th at the end of the 9th lap, the double podium finisher in Australia was able to remount, eventually finishing in 11th.
By half distance the gap between the leading two was constant but as Alex Lowes slid out of podium contention at the final turn on lap 13, the closest on track battle was for 3rd between Sykes and WorldSBK rookie Jordi Torres who was looking strong in 4th and gradually closing in on the former champion.
With the packed grandstand erupting to the cheers of the enthusiastic fans at the end of the final lap, Rea was able to clinch the win. Haslam crossed the line 1.9s ahead of Sykes and Torres, the trio completing the top-four.
Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) rode a lonely race to be classified an eventual 5th ahead of a recovering Alex Lowes who was able to salvage 10 points with a sixth place finish.
Behind the top-six the remaining top ten positions were rounded out by Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Ducati), Troy Bayliss (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team), David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) and Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati) who rounded out the top ten respectively after an enthralling race long fight.
Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Niccolò Canepa (Team Hero EBR) both retired in the early stages along with local wildcard rider Chanon Chumjai (RAC Oil Racing Team). Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike) retired from the top ten at the start of lap seven as did Anucha Nakcharoensri (YSS TS Racing)
Christophe Ponsson (Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki) was the only other faller, the youngest rider on the WorldSBK grid crashed uninjured at turn one on lap five.
World Superbike Race One Results
1 Jonathan Rea 31m33.852s GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
2 Leon Haslam +6.329s GBR APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils
3 Tom Sykes +8.183s GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
4 Jordi Torres +8.513s ESP APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils
5 Sylvain Guintoli +20.502s FRA HONDA Pata Honda World Superbike Team
6 Matteo Baiocco +26.118s ITA DUCATI Althea Racing
7 Alex Lowes +26.149s GBR SUZUKI Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
8 David Salom +27.925s ESP KAWASAKI Team Pedercini
9 Troy Bayliss +28.174s AUS DUCATI Aruba.it Racing-Ducati Superbike Team
10 Leandro Mercado +32.610s ARG DUCATI BARNI Racing Team
World Superbike Race Two – Rea makes it a full house with double win in Thailand
The second World Superbike race of the day at the Chang International Circuit saw another lights-to-flag victory by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), who claimed his 18th career win and extended his lead in the championship to 10 points in the process. The third double of his career capped a perfect weekend for the Ulsterman, who was dominant all weekend long as he also claimed Pole Position and recorded the fastest laps in both encounters. Incredibly enough, he led every single lap of racing, too.
Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), who was keen to make up for the error that cost him a race one podium made a lightning start, shadowing Rea for the first half of the race before succumbing to fellow British rider Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), who notched up his second consecutive 2nd place of the day.
Race two marked the fourth consecutive encounter with an all-British podium. Never in World Superbike history has the rostrum been made with riders of the same nationality in four successive races.
Other KRT rider Tom Sykes had a fairly uneventful race to claim 5th just behind Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), who scored another solid result in his debut WorldSBK season in 4th. The Spaniard pushed hard to overtake the former champion with two laps to go, eventually completing a successful manoeuvre into turn 3.
Clutch problems for the reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) saw the Frenchman having to start from the rear of the grid after missing the sighting lap. He would have an incredible first lap that saw him complete the first lap in 12th. He would eventually finish 6th after getting the better of team-mate Michael van der Mark, who made up for his retirement in race one by finishing 7th.
A group of four riders fought hard for the majority of the 20-lap race for the remaining top ten spots. Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Ducati) took 8th ahead of David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) and Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati), with Troy Bayliss (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) finishing just outside of the top ten in 11th.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) suffered his second crash of the day early in the race but fortunately as in race 1 he was able to remount, eventually scoring the final championship point with 15th.
Team Hero EBR riders Niccolo Canepa and Larry Pegram didn’t participate in race two, both suffering engine issues caused by the extreme heat.
In terms of the overall championship standings Rea leads the way with 95 points out of a possible 100, ten ahead of Haslam as the series heads to Aragon in Spain in three weeks’ time.
World Superbike Race Two Results
1 Jonathan Rea 31m31.173s GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
2 Leon Haslam +4.946s GBR APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils
3 Alex Lowes +8.701s GBR SUZUKI Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
4 Jordi Torres +10.628s ESP APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils
5 Tom Sykes +14.326s GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
6 Sylvain Guintoli +21.060s FRA HONDA Pata Honda World Superbike Team
7 Michael van der Mark +21.246s NED HONDA Pata Honda World Superbike Team
8 Matteo Baiocco +23.868s ITA DUCATI Althea Racing
9 David Salom +25.744s ESP KAWASAKI Team Pedercini
10 Leandro Mercado +29.692s ARG DUCATI BARNI Racing Team
11 Troy Bayliss +34.533s AUS DUCATI Aruba.it Racing-Ducati Superbike Team
World Superbike Championship Standings
1 Jonathan Rea 95 pts GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
2 Leon Haslam 85 pts GBR APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils
3 Tom Sykes 50 pts GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
4 Sylvain Guintoli 41 pts FRA HONDA Pata Honda World Superbike Team
5 Jordi Torres 39 pts ESP APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils
6 Chaz Davies 38 pts GBR DUCATI Aruba.it Racing-Ducati Superbike Team
7 Alex Lowes 32 pts GBR SUZUKI Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
8 Matteo Baiocco 30 pts ITA DUCATI Althea Racing
9 Nicolas Terol 26 pts ESP DUCATI Althea Racing
10 Leandro Mercado 21 pts ARG DUCATI BARNI Racing Team
11 Michael van der Mark 20 pts NED HONDA Pata Honda World Superbike Team
World Superbike Rider Quotes
Jonathan Rea 1-1: “For me it has been a perfect weekend with pole position and two race wins – we could not have asked for any more. The bike can always be better but at the beginning of the weekend the Ninja ZX-10R was at a really good level, my pace was really fast, the rhythm was good so we did not necessarily chase something we really could have got lost with. Our base setting right now is good and it gives me confidence to push the boundaries and understand the bike. I have not had so many double wins in my career but I have been lucky to have some. They do not come round a lot so I want to savour this moment and reflect on what we have done tomorrow and enjoy these next few days.”
Leon Haslam 2-2: “The team did a great job. Between the two races we took a big step forward. Rea was simply too fast today. We decided to use a harder front tyre and maybe with the softer one we could have been faster in the first part of the race, but it didn’t gives us the guarantees we needed in terms of distance. In any case I’m pleased with the weekend, especially because compared to Friday we have really improved and I can’t wait to get to Aragon. Being on the podium for the first two rounds of the season is definitely a great starting point.”
Alex Lowes 7-3: “I’m really happy to be back on the podium – it’s a third place but for us it means a lot after Phillip Island! It really should have been two podiums today, I just made a small mistake because I was determined to catch Leon and get second. As a team we’ve all worked so hard but the result is that we are back on the podium and back in the front group, and if we can keep a bit more consistency like this for the rest of the year then it will be a great season for us.
“I don’t really know about the yellow flag penalty, it’s a bit of a shame – Salom went off on the Astroturf at turn four so he shut off and Troy and I obviously passed him and when we arrived at the next corner there was a yellow flag! To be honest I didn’t think much about it. It’s disappointing as two top-sixes would have been good but it is what it is.
“So, one mistake away from it being a really great weekend but I’m really happy with race two, I was quite aggressive at the start but I rode a steady race and it’s a great way to thank the team for their hard work. Now I can concentrate on keeping it going for the next round in Aragon!”
Jordi Torres 4-4: “I am really happy about the work we did this weekend because, despite missing a session, we were able to come back well. The FP2 session is important for me because in the first session I learn the new track, whereas I need the second session to set up the base from which to work. Then on Saturday I have to focus on being fast for the qualifiers and Superpole. When I found myself behind Sykes I thought back to Phillip Island, where I crashed whilst trying to overtake him, and I decided to stay calm and study him in Race 1 without taking any risks. That was useful for me in Race 2. In the end I finished in the same position, but I’m learning lap after lap. Like I always say, the Aprilia RSV4 was made to win, and only when I reach that goal will I be able to be 100% satisfied.”
Tom Sykes 3-5: “First podium of the year in the opening race so we are heading in the right direction. One step at a time and a podium finish was not so bad considering the feeling I had with the bike. I am not able to do exactly what I want yet. When it is like that you have no answer for guys who have finished in front of you. We tried everything we could and in the end third position was acceptable for where we are at the moment. I got caught up in turn three of the first lap in race two and got dropped back a bit as a result. We had some small issues after that and corner entry was a little bit difficult to manage. We will keep working and try to improve the bike.”
Sylvain Guintoli 5-6: “In race one I did my best, of course, but we were just too far away from the pace of the front group. I did everything I could, but it turned out to be a bit of a lonely race for fifth. But race two was much more fun, even though we had a small technical problem which meant I had to start last. I had a great start and a great first two corners but then I got a bit over-excited and braked too late in turn five and lost three places. Finally I had a great battle with my team-mate which was more entertaining. Towards the end of the race I did my best lap time which was probably faster than my qualifying time, and that felt perfect, but it was difficult to be consistent. It’s only my second race on the bike and I’m still suffering from the neck injury in these dehydrating conditions. But we’ve now been to t wo different tracks with different characteristics and we can see that our pace is not as good as our rivals. So that gives us a base to work from and try to improve in key areas. Even though we’re not fighting for wins at the moment we’re still working to find solutions in the team and that will get the results we want.”
Michael van der Mark DNF-7: “In race one we had a little technical problem which ended the race for us but unfortunately these things can happen. It was a shame though because at that point in the race I was going faster and faster. In race two I felt really good but the start was not so good. I also made some mistakes in the first couple of laps and ran wide at one point so I had to fight back again. At the end I had a good fight with Sylvain and felt I was faster than him but not fast enough to get away. So I decided to stay behind and try to pass him on the final lap. We had a nice and fair fight and even though I crossed the finish line first, they put me one place back because I went outside the track in trying to get past at the final corner. But I enjoyed raced two and I think we have a lot of positives to go back to Europe with for the next round.”
Matteo Baiocco 6-8: “I’m pleased to have made continuous improvement throughout these two races. Even in qualifying we saw that that we could be inside the first eight and we are able to achieve this in the races too. I made two good starts, keeping pace until the end. I have grown a lot since Phillip Island and now we head to Aragon in high spirits. I am also very pleased for the Team as the guys have worked really hard, the bike was working well and to be the first of the Ducatis across the line makes both me and the team very happy.”
Troy Bayliss 9-11: “All in all, and considering that conditions here are some of the most difficult I’ve experience, I can say that I’m fairly satisfied. I’ve never liked it when it’s this hot and they were, as I expected, two very physical and difficult races, especially the first as I didn’t even take a drink in my suit! I thought I’d do a little better in the second race but I knew it would be tough, so it didn’t go too badly I guess… It’s been fun, I came back in particular circumstances and wanted to do one more event after Phillip Island to see how it would go. I love racing, Ducati and the people that work here and it’s been really great to race with the Panigale R Superbike. I was lucky enough to finish my career fit and healthy and I’ve seen that I can still be fast, but now I am ready to return to enjoying life with my family in Australia. I want to thank everyone for their support and now I leave things to the young talents.”
Chaz Davies 11-15: “I’m really disappointed with how today’s races went. It was very difficult as I was constantly having to push, riding at the limit, to fight with the others. The fact that there are three straights here really hindered us today… We made some changes for race 2 and the bike was better, but then the race went more or less like the first one. The crash was different, I lost grip at the rear on entering Turn 3 but then the second part of the race was similar. I tried to make up as many positions as possible. The lap times were good and when I find myself riding alone I have a lot less trouble. When I’m fighting with the others, I have a lot more trouble with initial acceleration and on the straight, losing too much ground which means I then have to force the entry. I have faith in the technicians at Borgo Panigale and their work to find us some more power ahead of the next races…”
Nico Terol 12-12: “I have had more trouble than I expected this weekend, I was unable to interpret the circuit as I wanted. This only spurs me on to work harder, the team has worked really well, seeking and testing different solutions which gave me better feeling with the bike in race 2 – I improved a little. Now I’m focusing on Aragon, a circuit that I really like and where I want to make two great races in front of my fans.”
Randy de Puniet 13-DNF: “It was difficult for me from the first day; we have struggled with the braking and tried many things. The first race was going well because after 12 laps I was 10th and close to the top-six and even though I wasn’t as confident as I had hoped, I was improving my lap times a lot. After lap 12 I struggled with the braking and could only finish 13th. Unfortunately in race two we had an engine issue. We need to forget this race and start from zero in Aragon. The only positive points are I am in good shape and impatient to ride at Calafat in 10 days to try the new Marelli system, because every step is important for us. The team worked really hard and it was great for Alex to finish on the podium so we know we can do it, now we just need to put everything together.”
Ratthapark Wilairot delights home crowd with maiden WSS win
Ratthapark Wilairot (CORE Motorsport Thailand Honda) has won the second race of the year for the Supersport World Championship. The 26-year-old Thai crossed the line ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpress), who were second and third in a photo finish at the end of an enthralling 17-lap race that had the packed grandstands on their feet with each lap completed.
Frenchman Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) scored his first points of the season, finishing a lonely 4th ahead of a jubilant Ratthapong Wilairot (A.P Honda Racing Thailand) who like his elder brother, had the crowd on their feet as he fought off a fierce attach from Italian Roberto Rolfo (Lorini Honda).
Martin Cardenas (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) became the first Colombian in the history of the series to score points in the World Supersport Championship as he ended the race in 8th place.
Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) crashed out of the top-8 at turn 5 on the 8th lap, the Italian was unable to continue. Kyle Smith (Pata Honda World Supersport) slid out of contention a lap later, the British rider who was on the podium in Australia clearly annoyed with himself.
Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), who had been leading for most of the race, retired with three and a half laps to go due to a technical problem.
Wilairot now heads to Europe with a 6-point lead over Sofuoglu in the overall standings.
Ratthapark Wilairot -“It’s an incredible feeling. I knew we could have been on the podium today and when I saw all the fans here I realised I had to make it in the top-3, I could hear them cheering on every single lap. Today is a day to remember not just for me but for all the Thai motorcycle racing fans. I am so happy of what me and brother did today. I think our father (who passed away in 2010) would be very proud of us.”
Kenan Sofuoglu: “We got the podium we wanted but I cannot say I am completely happy with it. I am pleased to score 20 points but I am not so happy with our pace in the race. Our main problem was that the temperatures went up and the track grip changed, which meant we were around a second slower than yesterday. My gearbox was set up for a faster corner speed so in the race I felt like I could not accelerate quickly out of the corners where you need full acceleration. In some parts of the track I was faster than other riders but out of the last corner and the first corner I lost too much. But we still took 20 points and the championship is still open. This was a very hard race for us but the coming races will not be like this one for me.”
PJ Jacobsen: “We had a lack of side grip towards the end because I used my tyre up in the middle of the race trying to catch Cluzel and Wilairot. I think the last three laps the heat was also not playing so well with me. I was thinking too much and Sofuoglu got by me in the last corner. That is a mistake I need to go back and fix for the next time. That said, if we could get a podium every weekend it would be great and we have regrouped after Phillip Island by putting it on the box here.”
Marco Faccani: “I am so happy because my target was a top ten, so seventh is a good race result for me. I was maybe too slow in the first laps but at the end of the race I attacked more. I lost one position to Roby Rolfo at the very end, so I am disappointed for that, but otherwise all is OK for me. We got a result well inside our target and the bike felt good.”
World Supersport Race Results
- Ratthapark Wilairot
- Sofuoglu +1.82
- Jacobsen +1.86
- Mahias + 8.66
- Ratthapong Wilairot + +12.11
- Rolfo +13.59
- Faccani +14.02
- Cardenas +14.85
- Baldolini +21.69
- Rea +30.23
- Kraisart +30.63
- Wahr +36.16
- Gamarino +36.33
- Scott +36.67
- Schmitter +37.58
- Warokorn +38.74
World Supersport Championship Standings
- Wilairot 36
- Sofuoglu 30
- Cluzel 25
- Jacobsen 22
- Rea 22
- anetti 20
- Rolfo 18
- Baldolini 16
- Mahias 13
- Smith 13