Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) took victory from pole in Sepang Race 1
Kawasaki Racing Team rider Tom Sykes took an incredible win from P1 on the grid in Sepang, after smashing the Best Lap in Tissot-Superpole 2 and then the Lap Record on Lap 2. Teammate and reigning Champion Jonathan Rea came home second for a KRT 1-2, ahead of Aruba.it Racing – Ducati rider Chaz Davies.
The big winners off the line in Race 1 proved to be Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes and Honda’s Michael van der Mark, with Lowes taking the lead from P2 on the grid and van der Mark slicing through from tenth to P6, before KRT duo Rea and Sykes moved through on the Yamaha. Sepang veteran Nicky Hayden, after initially losing out off the line, soon fought back up into the top 5 to chase down the lead group.
Sykes began to pull a gap on teammate Rea, who found himself chased by key Championship rival Chaz Davies. Yorkshireman Sykes also set a new Lap Record on Lap 2, his first flying lap of the track, on his way to the commanding lead and victory. Jonathan Rea on the sister ZX-10R followed his teammate home to P2 after eventually shaking off the challenge of Davies.
Title contender Davies was the lead Ducati in Race 1 once again as the Welshman took his Aruba.it machine to yet another podium to cement his consistent challenge, and teammate Davide Giugliano, after missing the Round in 2015 due to injury, fought for position in the second group before crossing the line in P6.
P1 – Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team
“I’ve been struggling for a long time with the new rules and regulations of the ZX-10R but we have been working all the time to get round my issue. It is my issue and it seems a lot easier for Jonathan to manage. So we need to get to the bottom of this. But certainly credit to Marcel and my mechanics they have worked flat out for numerous hours and finally I feel that we have come quite close this weekend. So we’re very, very happy with this. The bike was a pleasure to ride and gave me a lot of warnings. This is great and hopefully we can do the same tomorrow.”
P2 – Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team
“I’m really happy because we achieved our target today. Tom was so strong so congratulations to him. I had nothing for him. It’s those early laps where he was making the gap so hopefully tomorrow we can bridge it. It seems like the Pirelli front tyre is not working so well this weekend, normally we have some drop here on the rear, the rear has dropped but the front is the critical one. I couldn’t push the front on the faster corners, but they all look the same, so bravo to Tom and also to Chaz.”
P3 – Chaz Davies – Aruba.it Racing Ducati
“It was not quite all I had to stay with Jonathan in the first laps, I was pacing him ok. Then it started to getting a little bit harder to hook around the corner, to get that grip mid corner to corner exit. I was trying to work the front a bit harder on the corner exits but it just wasn’t happening. It was too much for me to try and hang with him. Credit to Tom, he went off like a rocket and finished like a rocket. We need to see what we can improve for tomorrow. “
Markus Reiterberger made good on his promise in Sepang as the rookie of the track impressed for Althea BMW, leading a charge back up the field to P4 in a stunning show of pace, until suffering a mechanical problem that forced him to retire. Teammate Jordi Torres also found great pace Race 1 in Sepang as the Spaniard fought to the front of the second group to take P4.
Alex Lowes, after a run off in the first half of the Race, staged an impressive fight back to take P5 and score a good haul of points for Pata Yamaha as the team run only one bike after Sylvain Guintoli’s crash in Imola.
Honda duo Nicky Hayden and Michael van der Mark had a race of opposites as the American suffered more towards the end of the Race and his Dutch teammate moved up the through the field. After the duo met in the middle on track, van der Mark was able to take his veteran teammate on the penultimate lap to come home just ahead of Hayden in P7.
Michael van der Mark – P7
“To be honest, in today’s Superpole I made a couple of mistakes that didn’t allow me to be much faster on a qualifying tyre. I got a good start to the race and I was feeling good in the first couple of corners, but immediately I felt I was missing some grip and I couldn’t handle the bike the way I wanted. I couldn’t attack and not even stay with the guys at the front. I was just trying to keep the quickest possible pace but towards the end of the race, I was passed by a couple of riders. Eventually I was able to overtake Nicky for seventh before the chequered flag, but it was clear that we were both having our own difficulties. We need to make some changes for tomorrow and turn our luck around for race two.”
Nicky Hayden – P8
“It surely wasn’t a fantastic race and it’s a bit of a shame, really, especially considering how the day started out. This morning in FP2 we were really strong and even if my Superpole wasn’t perfect, I still got my best qualifying place of the season. Despite a little electronic glitch at the start of the race I was still in a decent position but already from the second lap I had a huge drop off of grip. I still managed to make a couple of passes but the feeling with the bike was definitely not the same as before. We will surely go for a different tyre tomorrow and hopefully we’ll be able to put up a better fight.”
“Nicky was great qualifying in fourth place but, before the race, we decided to make a gamble regarding the rear tyre to use. That really didn’t work out, even though we had some good information about it from before. From as early as the second lap it was clear that the tyre wasn’t working properly and by halfway through the race, his pace had slowed down considerably. There is a lot to analyse for tomorrow and it’ll surely be a long night for the guys. Michael didn’t have a good lap in Superpole but he got a good start to the race. He spent most of the race in eighth position and had some issues with the handling of the bike and tyre wear, which will both be addressed tonight. It hasn’t been the best of days but we are looking forward positively to tomorrow.”
Anthony West, riding for injured Sylvain Barrier at Pedercini, moved up in the Race from his grid position to come home in P9, an incredible result after only getting on the bike for the first time on Friday.
Anthony West – P9
“Well that was fun! Ninth place and loving riding in WSBK. Hopefully I can get a full time ride here. Hard work today, in the race I made so many mistakes. But that’s to be expected when it’s my 1st race in WorldSBK. But coming back to the box and seeing all the team happy was well worth it. The best part is we get to race again tomorrow. I will try a complete new set up in warm up tomorrow. The more I ride the bike the more I understand what we need to change to go faster. Working hard as always.”
MV Agusta rider Leon Camier suffered in the early part of Race 1 in Sepang but struck back steadily to push Josh Brookes back to 11th and steal the last position in the top ten.
Josh Brookes – P11
“It’s my first time racing here so I had to learn the circuit quickly on Friday, and there’s a new surface which was evolving during Practice.
“We made a lot of changes to the bike this weekend, and at the start of Superpole it came into the range where my confidence built. In the middle of the session the bike changed as the track condition changed which was quite scary, and I think other people experience similar issues.
“Starting from 14th wasn’t ideal, but during the early stages of the race I had a good feeling for the bike and I could fight for some of the top ten positions. We lost time towards the end as the tyres went away, but hopefully we can get on top of those and have a better race tomorrow.”
Aprilia duo Lorenzo Savadori, fastest on Friday, and teammate Alex De Angelis were both running in the points before being unable to see the flag due to separate incidents on track.
Josh Hook was the final points scorer, with the Australian rookie closing out the top 15 after starting from 19th on the grid.
Andrea Grillini, Team Manager
“I am happy with this point scored by Hook which shows that it is working well and that he took confidence with the bike. Both Josh and Dominic are young and their first experience in Superbike and I realise that it is not easy to jump right in the middle of the competition. “
Race 2 will see lights out on Sunday at Sepang at 16:00 local time (GMT +8) once again, as the teams and riders analyse the data from the first challenge and ready for the second.
WorldSBK – Sepang Race 1
Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team
Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team +5.600
Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing – Ducati +8.039
WorldSBK – Championship Standings
Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team241
Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing – Ducati202
Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team 179
WorldSSP: Sofuoglu Grabs Pole in Malaysia
Kawasaki Puccetti racing pair Kenan Sofuoglu and Randy Krummenacher achieved a 1-2 in Tissot-Superpole 2 at Sepang International Circuit, on Best Lap pace and beating Brit Gino Rea, who locked out the front row.
With the track dry once again after the short shower that hit WorldSBK Tissot-Superpole 1, it was Roberto Rolfo and Ayrton Badovini who put in the fastest laps in WorldSSP Superpole 1, to join the tenth fastest from Friday in the second Superpole session. Honda rider PJ Jacobsen had been the benchmark on Friday after FP2 was hit by rain, in addition to being the holder of the Best Lap, with the Puccetti Kawasaki riders and MV Agusta Reparto Corse duo all eager to depose the American.
WorldSSP rookie and recently-deposed Championship leader Randy Krummenacher set the time to beat in the first half of Superpole 2, as the Swiss rider’s knowledge of the track came to the fore. Staying out on track as many others chose to pit, the benchmark time was only two tenths off Best Lap pace. Krummencher then beat that Best Lap, before the others returned out on track for the final push to the line. New points leader and reigning Champion Kenan Sofuoglu took over at the top of the timesheets with a new record soon thereafter, and the Turk’s lap proved impossible to beat. A tenth clear of Krummenacher in P2, the Puccetti pairing are well poised to fight it out on track on Sunday.
GRT rider Gino Rea, after a positive Friday, set the third quickest lap to complete the front row. Previous Best Lap holder and 2015 winner PJ Jacobsen heads the second row in P4 for Honda World Supersport Team, in front of local hero Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who will begin his rookie home WorldSSP race from the middle of the second row. Ayrton Badovini, after coming through Superpole 1, is P6, ahead of MV Agusta Reparto Corse title contender Jules Cluzel, who finds himself out of position in P7. Roberto Rolfo qualified in P8 after topping Superpole 1, in front of Ondrej Jezek and Nico Terol, with the Spanish rider completing the top ten.
WorldSSP will be back on track for the Race at 14:20 local time on Sunday (GMT +8), as the grid fight it out for another 25 points in Malaysia.
World Supersport 2016 – Sepang – Qualifying
Kenan Sofuoglu Kawasaki Puccetti Racing 2:08.055
Randy Krummenacher Kawasaki Puccetti Racing +0.100
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.