Rea Second And Sykes Third After First Motorland Race
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The first of two FIM Superbike World Championship races at Motorland Aragon this weekend saw official KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes go second and third respectively, after 18-laps around the impressive 5.077km circuit.
Having taken pole position after this morning’s Superpole contest Sykes led for the first three laps but was passed by eventual race winner Chaz Davies, and then fellow Kawasaki rider Rea, who would then hold onto second place.
Rea had evaluated some new set-ups on Friday but went back to a more conventional setting today, using Superpole to make his final selections for the first race itself. After finding feel and feedback in the early laps he moved forward to his eventual second place result and finished 4.168 seconds from the win.
Sykes found early pace but could not hold onto the leading two as they passed, with Tom finishing only a fraction of a second from Jonathan but unable to push to challenge for second in the final laps. Sykes was 4.948 seconds from victory after 91.386 kilometres of hard racing.
With only 15°C air temperatures and 30°C track temperatures the race was held in dry and conditions throughout.
This fifth race of the season delivered podium finish number five for Rea, who has not finished lower than second so far. It was three podiums in a row for Sykes, who has now taken a second, a win and a third place.
In the overnight championship points table, before race two plays out at 13.00 local time tomorrow, Rea has 115 points, Sykes 82 and Davies is now third with 80.
Jonathan Rea stated: “I am satisfied because if you cannot win you should finish second. Today we did that at a track that has been really strong for Chaz in the past. In the beginning of the race I was still understanding the bike because the first time we had used our complete race set-up was in Superpole. I was learning in the early laps. This morning we went back to more like what we had before. Now we need a bit more grip and to improve things under braking for tomorrow. We can go back and understand my rhythm now and take things from there to make the bike even better. I know we can be closer tomorrow.”
Tom Sykes stated: “I knew that one fast lap was easy from earlier in the day but I knew the race pace may be difficult. I was suffering a little bit with the balance, as it is not quite letting me do what I wanted to do. That means when the tyre drops I cannot keep the level I want to. I am also happy to be on the podium and we are blessed to still be able to do that even when it is not our best day. I just did not have enough to be able to close and make a pass on Jonathan at the end so that is something we need to work on but both Kawasakis seemed to be at a very similar level. We need to be stronger tomorrow and work hard again.”
Roman Ramos (GoEleven Kawasaki) put himself 12th in his first home race of the weekend but Sylvain Barrier (Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) just missed out on points with a 16th place finish. Dominic Schmitter (Grillini Kawasaki) was 18th in a race with 20 finishers. Saeed Al Sulaiti (Pedercini Kawasaki Racing) and Josh Hook (Grillini Racing Kawasaki) did not finish the race.