Fifth Win For Rea As Sykes Also Podiums

Courtesy of KRT – Kawasaki Racing Team

After an often-tough fight for the lead in the opening 18-lap FIM Superbike World Championship race at Motorland Aragon Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) ended up out front on the final lap after his rival Chaz Davies fell on the last corner of the penultimate lap. This was Jonathan’s fifth win from five starts in 2017. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) put a second official Ninja ZX-10RR on the podium, in third place.

After qualifying second and third in Superpole 2 earlier in the day, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes raced to a win and third place respectively in the first race of the Motorland weekend. Rea scored what was the 200th WorldSBK win for a British rider.

Rea’s perfect start to the season looked like it may be halted by Davies’ as they battled it out up front but when Rea’s race-long companion fell while leading, with just one lap to go, Jonathan was able to relax and take a four second margin of victory.

For Sykes the relatively strong wind was a factor in not being able to stay in contention to the end, despite his front row start. He was lapping as fast as any other riders at one point but he was forced to slow his pace near the end. He continued to look for strong points and eventually took 16 for his third place.

Rea has scored a maximum 125 points and leads the championship – now from his Sykes – by 47 points. One more 18-lap race will take place this weekend, on Sunday 2nd April. Under the new rules for 2017, Rea will now start the second race in ninth position, Sykes in seventh.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I made the strongest race I could do. Chaz was strong in areas where I was not, and I was strong in areas where he was not, so it was a case of me learning a lot in the race. The stopping performance, direction change and grip conservation of the bike was really good today and I felt I still had a tyre to fight with at the end, but in the middle section of the track, where Chaz was just in the front, I could not maximise any time to try to go away out front. The only thing I could do in that race was ride shotgun and put as much pressure on as I could and wait for a mistake. The door opened up a few times because Chaz missed a few apexes but finally he went down in the penultimate lap. First of all I hope Chaz is OK but for me it was a perfect opportunity to win another race. It was going to be very difficult to win a last lap battle with him in that last sector where he was so strong. It is a crash-gifted win but I will take it because I felt I rode well.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “Sometimes you get gifted things in racing but we were working hard. The start of my day was very bad because I woke up about 04.00 this morning with some kind of sickness and suffered in the race. I could not fuel the body for today, I could not eat and was almost not be able to drink anything. But in the race you always find a way around these physical things. In the wind I just suffered a little bit with the turning of the bike, so the rear traction was critical. Because the bike would not turn I was overstressing the rear tyre. From that point of view, tomorrow we will have another go. Hopefully my physical condition will be much stronger and the plan right now is to improve the set-up of the bike some more.”

2017 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015 and 2016
2017: Races 5, Wins 5, Podiums 5, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 43 (28 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 93 (51 For Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 10 (6 For Kawasaki)

Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2017: Races: 5, Wins 0, Podiums 4, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 31 (31 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 88 (87 For Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 38 (38 For Kawasaki)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
4 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015 & 2016), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
2 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016)
2 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015 & 2016)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 96 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 316 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 65 – second overall

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