Courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) grew his career total of WSB wins to 20 today after taking two clear victories in the 21-lap Superbike races at Misano. Each time he headed up his own team-mate Loris Baz by one place in the results on a great day for the official Kawasaki riders. The joy of the KRT team was boundless when David Salom (KRT SBK Evo) won both Evo races at Misano, extending his championship lead in the Evo classification.
In race one Sykes pushed on ahead to lead every lap and although Baz was able to stay close to him for some time Sykes had the pace at the end to win by 5.012 seconds after 21 laps of intense action at the 4.226km Misano circuit.
In the even hotter track conditions of race two Sykes made a harder push to get away and after early leader Davide Giugliano had to take a ride through penalty for jump-starting Sykes made the best of a clear track ahead to ride clear to his second win of the day. Baz was even closer to him in race two than race one and rode with full commitment to keep the highly experienced Marco Melandri behind him on the final laps of the race.
For Sykes his fifth and sixth wins of the year came as a result of his third double win, following his successes at Motorland Aragon and Donington Park. His latest wins came despite painful hand, wrist and leg injuries he carried over from the previous round. Tom left Misano with a Superpole win and new lap record, set in race one, of 1’35.629.
An extended championship lead of 39 points was Sykes’ final reward after a tough but truly rewarding weekend in Italy. Kawasaki now leads the Manufacturer’s Championship by 22 points.
Only Baz put up a serious challenge to Sykes this weekend and in taking two second places he drew himself to within two points of second place in the championship standings as the championship now enters the second half at the next round in Portugal.
David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team SBK Evo) was on great form in both races to win each Evo class contest outright on his Ninja ZX-10R, and move to an impressive lead of 24 points over the next best rider in the championship after seven of 13 rounds.
The next SBK event takes place at the Portimao circuit in Portugal on Sunday 6th July.
Tom Sykes: “I am very pleasantly surprised at these results but I knew that the adrenaline and the concentration would give me something extra. I honestly was not expecting to get that much extra but massive credit to all the team. It all went to plan in race one. I knew I had some limitation all weekend and I said that to my crew chief, and what the issues were. After that you need to get on and do the job. We have been working a lot all weekend and we have been fine-tuning the set-up of the Ninja ZX-10R. Finally when it came to crunch time I was able to give that final little bit myself, and I am happy about that. The lap times were quite surprising at the start and I was surprised to keep that pace in race one. The front and rear were moving a lot but the feedback from the bike was fantastic, so I have to thank Marcel and Danilo and all the mechanics who have all worked over time a long time to deal with my fussy requests! In race two it was even more difficult, the bike was moving a lot more and I was over compensating with my left arm. I had to stay focused but at the end the control of the second race was probably a bit more relaxed than in race one.”
Loris Baz: “I think today Tom was just too fast and I could not go with him in each race. In the first race I thought I could but after ten laps I could see he was faster. I thought I could go fast in the last few laps, but Tom had a great pace and also made a new track record, turning in a 1’35 – a time that no one had done before. In race two Tom was faster from the beginning. I had Marco Melandri behind me in that race and kept him behind. I am really happy to have done that because he tried to pass a few times. We know how experienced he is so I think that is the best race I have ever done. I did not make any mistakes so it was hard for him to overtake me. I am really happy and I cannot wait for the next race at Portimao as I am sure that first win of the season will come pretty soon.”
David Salom: “We took two race wins at Misano in the Evo class but it was very hard. The end of the first race was perfect for us, we made a good start and in the first laps I followed Canepa and Baiocco but at the end I passed Canepa and pushed hard. I took a good advantage then and I pushed all the way. In race two it was more difficult because some other riders were strong and fast and I had a very good fight. I knew if I pushed very hard at the end I could not be passed before the line. It ended up a very good day for Kawasaki. We have more points in the championship and that is the main thing.”