Words by Vishnu G Haarinath
During the qualifying on Saturday, Tom Sykes grabbed his first pole position on the calendar in front of his home crowd with a lap record of one minute 26.64 seconds around Donington park, surpassing his previous year record set. Following him was the reigning champion and fellow teammate Jonathan Rea on board his ZX-10RR and completing the front row was Chaz Davies on his Ducati Panigale R to complete the Brit 1-2-3 front row start.
In race one, Davies pulled off a good start ahead of the Kawasakis and went on to lead Sykes and Rea who were battling for second and third position, but things did not go well for the Ducati rider as he crashed out at lap 7, handing over the lead to the current championship leader Rea. While Rea had a commanding lead over Sykes, he could not hold onto the first place for a long time as Sykes kept on closing on the Irish lap by lap, where over a point of time Rea could not hold the pressure and lost the lead to his teammate and ended up crashing on lap 20. Second place was grabbed by Leon Haslam(Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and third place went to Alex Lowes(Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) on the podium.
In race two it was a gamble in the start as the pole setter Sykes was pushed back and Leandro Mercado(Ioda Racing) lead the pack for a lap. Rea charged from second to takeover the lead in the 23 lap race and went on to finish first in Kawasaki’s 100th win in WSBK. Following him to the podium steps was his teammate Sykes who lost his domination at the park. Rea marked the end of Sykes winning streak of nine races at the park. Completing the top three was Chaz Davies who battled his way with his rivals, climbing all the way from the 13th spot on the grid.
With this win Rea increases his lead in the championship over Sykes with 55 points overall. With seven more rounds to go, the championship is still wide open.
However, the event began on a sad note at Donington Park as riders mourned for the late Honda WSBK rider and 2006 MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden who passed away in an accident. Nicky Hayden was on board the Honda CBR 1000 RR for Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team for the current season. WSBK will miss the number 69 bike on track.
Stay tuned for more race updates on Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round to be held on June 16-18.