34th career pole for Tom Sykes, in front of everyone again after last year’s edition: he has never started lower than second at this track. He is the only rider in WorldSBK history with two poles in Malaysia. In Race 1 he recorded new “firsts”: first rider to win from pole at Sepang, first former World Champion to win at Sepang and first rider to win with a margin greater than one second at Sepang.
The 0.756 seconds Sykes put between himself and the second on the grid are the largest margin between the first two riders on the grid since the same Sykes scored pole with 0.805 seconds over Sylvain Guintoli three years ago in Magny Cours.
In Race 1 Sykes won with his personal signature: leading all the laps. 17 of his 28 WorldSBK wins came in this way. He has led all the laps in four of his last five wins.
This was the first win for Sykes at Sepang: now he has won on 14 different tracks, one more than his team-mate Jonathan Rea. Among the tracks in the current calendar, he hasn’t won only in Phillip Island, where he nevertheless recorded two poles and finished twice on the podium in third.
Sykes is at his fourth straight podium: last year his best string was five (he was twice second in Imola, twice winner in Donington and second in the first Algarve race). Sykes climbed on the podium 8 times in the last nine races: in the middle, his fall in Race 1 at Assen.
Qualified 2nd – Alex Lowes (race 1: 5th)
Best career grid spot for Alex Lowes, second. In Race 1 he was able to record his best result of the season, fifth, despite an offtrack excursion.
Alex has finished in the points in his last seven races: his best career string is eight, recorded from Assen/2 to Misano/1 last year.
Qualified 3rd – Jonathan Rea (race 1: 2nd)
For the fourth time in six race weekends this year, Jonathan Rea was third on the grid, his 37th front row start, only one shy of 2003 World Champion Neil Hodgson. For the first time he started from the front row at Sepang.
In Race 1 Rea was on the podium for the 11th straight time (76th career podium), seventh all-time sequence, the same number recorded by Carl Fogarty from Kyalami 1999/1 to Nurburgring 1999/1: last year he was on the podium in the first 20 races.
Qualified 4th – Nicky Hayden (race 1: 8th)
Best career grid spot for Nicky Hayden, up from seventh recorded in Phillip Island.
Qualified 5th – Chaz Davies (race 1: 3rd)
An unusual place for Chaz Davies, whose only other time he qualified fifth on the grid had been in Laguna Seca, 2013.
In Race 1 Chaz Davies became the 20th rider in history to reach the goal of 40 career podiums, joining 1991-1992 World Champion Doug Polen.
Chaz Davies at Sepang counts one finish for each podium spot: winner and second last year, third in Race 1 this year: these are the only Ducati podiums at this track. In all the WorldSBK races run at Sepang, Chaz was always the best-placed Ducati rider at the flag.
Great Britain locked out the podium for the 28th time in history in Race 1: for the third race in succession the podium finishers were Sykes, Rea and Davies.
The last three races were always won by the polesitter, who also led all laps and recorded the fastest race lap.
For the fourth time this year the Kawasakis finished 1-2 in the race after the two Races in Buriram and Assen Race 2.
This was the third time out of five races held in Sepang with a manufacturer locking the first two places at the flag after Aprilia did it in both races two years ago: the 2015 podiums were the only ones here featuring three different manufacturers (Ducati, Kawasaki, Aprilia).
Best career grid spot for Markus Reiterberger, 6th
Jordi Torres recorded the best BMW result at this track by finishing fourth in Race 1.
8 and 1. After the first Sepang race, there is a curious pattern of 8 and 1 combinations in WorldSBK history: 181 wins for Great Britain (118 for Australia and 118 for the United States) and 818 total podium placements for Ducati.
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