At the ninth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship season, held at Laguna Seca in the USA, KRT riders Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea battled with each other in both races, with Sykes scoring two second places and Rea taking two thirds. The KRT riders are still 1-2 in the championship itself, with Rea on 407 points and Sykes on 282.
In the first 25-lap race of the day Sykes set about trying to chase down eventual race winner Chaz Davies but ended up in a defensive battle with Rea as they vied for the 20 points available for second place. Sykes was to hold on to his runner-up position, with Rea scoring third, finishing right behind his team-mate. In race two Sykes led Rea in the early laps, with an attempted pass from the championship leader being rebuffed by his team-mate in definite fashion. Light spots of rain on the track shortly after the start had caused some anxious moments for all the riders but the track conditions rapidly improved, allowing Sykes to take the fastest lap of race two, 1’23.842, on lap ten.
In finishing second twice today Sykes minimised his loss of points to double race winner Davies. Despite recording his two smallest points scores of the season Rea still holds a strong 125-point advantage over Sykes, with four rounds of the championship remaining. Rea has continued his remarkable run of finishing on the podium at every single race this year.
In the Manufacturers’ Championship standings, Kawasaki leads by 112 points.
The Sepang International Circuit will host the tenth round of the series, from Friday 30 July to Sunday 2 August.
Tom Sykes: “Jonathan and I had a great battle for the entire first race. I had plus zero on my pit board, so I just had to manage the situation. I felt the rear tyre drop and had to compensate in some areas, trying to do some things slightly differently. It was not ideal but overall I am happy with second position considering the circumstances. We made two small changes for race two and it was strange because at the beginning I felt I had a really good bike set-up but in the rain Chaz took a couple of more risks. It paid off because he made a big gap and I think that was probably the deciding factor in the race. We had a couple of warnings and I was just not able to stick with Chaz. Overall, I am fairly satisfied but we were just not close enough. Two second places are acceptable but another rider took the prizes this weekend.”
Jonathan Rea: “I tried a lot but there was nothing I could do to go through on Tom in race one. He also had a good pace but I am sure I had a higher pace. I just could not through him. I tried a few times and ran wide and it was very clear if I was to stick a pass it had to be an aggressive one and in the last laps I did not get an opportunity. He was riding quite smart. In the final corner I was a little bit behind and it was one of those where you had to be clever as well, because 16 points is a lot better than zero. We also had a good pace in race two but it was a little bit my fault because I made too many mistakes. Tom and I both lost a lot of time to Chaz when the rain was coming but we ended up with a really good pace together. Today we played the long game a little bit and third is where I could finish.”
David Salom (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) was unable to finish the first race at Laguna while Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki) secured 12th spot. In the second 25-lap race Salom retired again and Ramos repeated his 12th place from race one. Ramos has 59 championship points, in 13th position, while Salom has 43, and is placed 16th.