WorldSBK 2016 – Round Two – Thailand – Race One
Rea just beats teammate Sykes over the line in tense Thai battle
Reigning Champion Jonathan Rea has defeated 2013 Champion Tom Sykes in an inter-team showdown at Chang International Circuit in Thailand. The defending Champion recovered from some big on track moments earlier in the race to hunt down his teammate and eventually pass him with a few laps to go.
“The pace was fast; I did not expect it to be so fast as all weekend we have been slower than last year. So it was a good, fast race. I put my head down and with four laps to go I got a small gap of about 0.7 or 0.8 seconds on Tom. On the final laps I got caught out in the first turn by another rider but it was not so much. I had done all my work by then as I had completely emptied my tank with about four laps to go to try and get away. I am a little bit tired now because I went full gas in those last four laps. We were able to capitalise on that work and I feel like I rode for a stronger win than I have had for a long time. Tomorrow, I expect my bike set-up will be much stronger.”
Sykes kept the pace with the Number 1 plated machine and after having led a majority of the laps, had plenty in reserve for the final lap: the Yorkshireman closed in on his teammate with only corners to go and eventually crossed the line right behind him.
“I am quite happy with that because compared to last year we made a much stronger race. Unfortunately I was struggling in two or three corners, which gave away a lot of advantage. Jonathan was riding very well and on the last laps he was strong but we were also strong at that stage compared to previous races. This is a positive and the gap was not so big to the winner. We have a much better feeling, so this is a good step. The Ninja ZX-10R was working consistently and we had some great lap times, so we’ll see how it goes next race. We need to try and improve for tomorrow but as a start that was quite acceptable. I am disappointed not to win on one hand but we have had a big improvement on the other hand. We are working in the right direction.”
The Kawasaki Racing Team pair got a better start off the line from P2 and P3 and pole sitter Michael Van Der Mark initially dropped back before fighting his way up to just behind Rea.
After the Honda rider saved a big wobble, he was left to a lonely ride to P3 to pick up his third podium of the season and maintain his 100% record in 2016.
Michael van der Mark
“I’m so happy about my first WorldSBK pole position. I wasn’t really expecting it but once I got out on track, I had such a good feeling and just went for it. The Kawasakis are usually very competitive over a single lap but today we managed to be quicker. I made a mistake at the start of the race, I was probably a bit too excited to be on pole position. I then had a problem with downshifting and went wide at turn 1, losing a couple of more places. Step by step I was able to close the gap on Tom and Jonathan. When I got really close, I had a big moment at turn eight which cost me some time and after that, their pace did not allow me to make up ground. Anyway, I was able to be consistently quick and we just need a couple of adjustments in order to be even more competitive tomorrow.”
His teammate, 2006 MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden, suffered a technical problem on lap 11 and was unfortunately forced to retire.
“It has been a difficult day at the office. In Superpole I wasn’t able to get the most out of the qualifying tyre, I hardly improved on my FP3 lap-time. It’s clear that we still have some work to do on that side. There’s not much I can say about the race, we had a problem with a sensor and the bike was not running smoothly, up to the point that it stopped. It’s a shame we were unable to complete the race but there is still a lot we can do before tomorrow’s second race.”
The Ducati duo of Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano dueled with some incredibly close racing, before Giugliano lowsided out of the race when chasing his teammate down once again. Despite never having ridden in Buriram, Giugliano’s pace was close to that of teammate Davies.
“On the bright side, we’ve made a big step forward since yesterday, but I still struggled under braking and today it wasn’t possible to race at the front. If anything, as in Phillip Island, I managed to be progressively faster in the second half of the race. Still, I regret the crash, which took me off guard because I’ve never had any issues in turn 12 before. Like last year, this track is proving to be tricky for us, but we’ll evaluate the situation to have a proper rematch.”
The Welshman was less fortunate in Thailand last season and will be encouraged by a P4 result and a good haul of points on a track traditionally not suited to the Panigale R.
“It’s been a difficult race, and honestly I don’t think I could have done more today. I didn’t have the pace to stay with the frontrunners, and it wasn’t easy to hold Davide back either. I suffered an unexpected wear on the rear tyre before half-way, and I had to play defense. Also, top speed unfortunately is really important on this track and we still need to work on this aspect, especially in the first sector. It won’t be easy, but we won’t give up and will try some more changes to at least step on the podium tomorrow.”
Markus Reiterberger had a great rookie ride in Thailand to P5 and was joined in the top ten by his Althea BMW teammate Jordi Torres in P8.
“I’m proud of my race. I didn’t make the best start but was lying eighth on lap one. It wasn’t easy to stay with the riders ahead of me during the opening laps but I felt better from a few laps in. My BMW S 1000 RR performed really well today, I saw the riders ahead and tried to reach them, getting closer and closer. But then I saw that some of them were making mistakes and so I focused on avoiding errors and getting to the end: this was the key to my fifth place finish.”
“It was a bit of a difficult day because in the Superpole we were not able to make the most of the qualifying tyre on the flying lap and then we had a few issues during the race. I wasn’t able to gain the right confidence with the bike and particularly with the brake lever, which meant I couldn’t be consistent during braking. At one point I made a mistake and, given that we were all so close, I lost some places. I then tried to modify my braking style and was able to make up a few positions.”
The Yamaha pairing of Lowes and Guintoli both recovered from some trickier moments earlier in the race to bring the new YZF R1 home in P6 and P7 respectively.
“A difficult day for me overall, but the race was quite positive with a sixth place finish so I’m quite happy with that even though we know the potential of the YZF-R1 and the package is a lot more. It’s my first proper full race of the year and I feel good with the direction we are going. I’m looking forward to making some more improvements for tomorrow and seeing what we can do in race two.”
“It was a difficult race for us in the end and we had difficulties in the braking zones meaning I ran straight, on three separate occasions. The first half of the race was really good – after recovering from the first run on – I had a good pace and was catching the Ducati’s but in the second half I started to struggle with rear-tyre-life so I couldn’t keep up that pace as I wanted. It was a tough race, which we were expecting but we will just have to keep working on the development of the YZF-R1 ready for tomorrow.”
The Aprilia RSV4 completed the top ten with WorldSBK rookies Alex De Angelis and Lorenzo Savadori finishing P9 and P10.
Leon Camier recovered from a difficult few sessions before Race 1 to finish in 11th with his MV Agusta, just in front of Team GOELEVEN rider Roman Ramos.
Matteo Baiocco, riding for injured Fabio Menghi at VFT, scored points in 13th ahead of recovering Barni Racing’s Xavi Fores and Milwaukee BMW rider Josh Brookes.
Race 2 will prove another opportunity for the WorldSBK grid to chase more glory, with the start set for 4pm local time (9am GMT) and Dutch Honda rider Michael Van Der Mark once again on pole.
Motul Thai Round – Race 1
1 Jonathan Rea Kawasaki GBR 31’32.311
2 Tom Sykes Kawasaki GBR 00’00.222
3 Michael van der Mark Honda NLD 00’09.623
4 Chaz Davies Ducati GBR 00’17.167
5 Markus Reiterberger BMW DEU 00’18.894
6 Alex Lowes Yamaha GBR 00’20.754
7 Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha FRA 00’24.221
8 Jordi Torres BMW ESP 00’31.064
9 Alex De Angelis Aprilia SM 00’34.348
10 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia ITA 00’34.479
11 Leon Camier MV Agusta GBR 00’37.013
12 Román Ramos Kawasaki ESP 00’41.113
13 Matteo Baiocco Kawasaki ITA 00’44.369
14 Xavi Fores Ducati ESP 00’45.053
15 Joshua Brookes BMW AUS 00’51.939
16 Sylvain Barrier Kawasaki FRA 00’54.314
17 Saeed Al Sulaiti Kawasaki QAT 01’06.541
18 Davide Giugliano Ducati ITA 01’09.530
19 Dominic Schmitter Kawasaki CHE 01’40.904
20 Peter Sebestyen Yamaha HUN 1 lap
21 Sahustchai Kaewjaturaporn Kawasaki THA 1 lap
22 Imre Toth Yamaha HUN 1 lap
23 Anucha Nakcharoensri Yamaha THA 3 laps
WorldSSP: Cluzel clinches pole at Chang International Circuit
MV Agusta rider Jules Cluzel has beaten the Puccetti pair of Randy Krummenacher and Kenan Sofuoglu to Pole Position in Buriram after a late lap saw him cross the line 0.094 clear.
It was Japanese rider Hikari Okubo and German rider Kevin Wahr who claimed the final two spots in Tissot-Superpole 2 in WorldSSP in Buriram, as Malaysian rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin marginally missed out on the top 12 on his first outing at Chang International Circuit.
Jules Cluzel, who led the majority of last year’s race in Buriram before a mechanical problem saw him retire, set a late charge for pole position after a Friday that had seemed to see him on the back foot. The MV Agusta rider clinched P1 on his final lap of the session, punching the air in celebration as he saw the result once over the line.
Points leader Randy Krummenacher set a number of incredibly competitive laps in his bid to take the honour from the Frenchman before being forced to settle for P2 by less than a tenth of a second. The Swiss rider is a rookie this year and had never ridden at Chang International Circuit until this weekend, so a front row will surely be a great result for the Puccetti rider.
After a photo finish in Thailand last year from pole position, defending Champion Kenan Sofuoglu completes the front row in third. Outpacing the field in Phillip Island before a tyre problem saw him unable to finish the race, the Turkish rider will be wanting a good haul of points in Sunday’s WorldSSP race to begin his title defence proper.
A.P. Honda Racing Thailand’s wildcard entry, Ratthapong Wilairot, will start seventh on the grid after topping Friday’s combined practice times. The Thai rider came fifth in the WorldSSP race in his home country last year, also riding as a wildcard, and should pose a good threat to the front once again.
Lights go out for the WorldSSP race on Sunday at 14:20 local time (7:20am GMT).
Motul Thai Round – WorldSSP Tissot-Superpole
1 JULES CLUZEL 16 FRA MV AGUSTA REPARTO CORSE MV AGUSTA 1’38.383
2 RANDY KRUMMENACHER 21 SWI KAWASAKI PUCCETTI RACING KAWASAKI +0.094
3 KENAN SOFUOGLU 54 TUR KAWASAKI PUCCETTI RACING KAWASAKI +0.229
4 PATRICK JACOBSEN 2 USA HONDA WORLDSSP HONDA +0.302
5 ALEX BALDOLINI 25 ITA RACE DEPARTMENT ATK#25 MV AGUSTA +0.460
6 KYLE SMITH 111 GBR CIA LANDLORD INSURANCE HONDA HONDA +0.480
7 RATTHAPONG WILAIROT 59 THA AP HONDA RACING HONDA +0.634
8 NICOLAS TEROL 88 SPA SCHMIDT RACING MV AGUSTA +0.784
9 GINO REA 4 GBR GRT RACING TEAM MV AGUSTA +0.941
10 LUKE STAPLEFORD 81 GBR CIA LANDLORD INSURANCE HONDA HONDA +0.978
11 KEVIN WAHR 19 GER GEMAR BALLONS – TEAM LORINI HONDA +1.040
12 HIKARI OKUBO 78 JPN CIA LANDLORD INSURANCE HONDA HONDA +1.845
13 ZULFAHMI KHAIRUDDIN 63 MAL ORELAC RACING VERDNADURA KAWASAKI +sp1
14 DECHA KRAISART 24 THA YAMAHA THAILAND YAMAHA +sp1
15 FEDERICO CARICASULO 64 ITA BARDAHL EVAN BROS. HONDA RACING HONDA +sp1
16 LORENZO ZANETTI 87 ITA MV AGUSTA REPARTO CORSE MV AGUSTA +sp1
17 ONDREJ JEZEK 69 CZE TEAM GO ELEVEN KAWASAKI +sp1
18 GLENN SCOTT 68 AUS GEMAR BALLONS – TEAM LORINI HONDA +sp1
19 KYLE RYDE 77 GBR RANIERI MED – SC RACING YAMAHA +sp1
20 CHRISTIAN GAMARINO 11 ITA TEAM GO ELEVEN KAWASAKI +sp1
21 AIDEN WAGNER 41 AUS GRT RACING TEAM MV AGUSTA +sp1
22 NACHO CALERO 10 SPA ORELAC RACING VERDNADURA KAWASAKI +sp1
23 ROBERTO ROLFO 44 ITA TEAM FACTORY VAMAG MV AGUSTA +sp1
24 STEFAN HILL 35 GBR CIA LANDLORD INSURANCE HONDA HONDA +sp1
25 LACHLAN EPIS 83 AUS RESPONSE RE RACING KAWASAKI +sp1