WorldSBK race in memory of Hayden
UK WorldSBK marked an emotional weekend for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, as the paddock mourned the tragic loss of Nicky Hayden, who lost his life in a training accident just weeks before. Leaving a massive hole in the paddock and an irreplaceable character, the Pata UK Round was all about racing to honour Hayden and do what he did best – race.
Set in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside, Donington Park is a circuit which Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) has dominated around in the past, and 2017 saw the British rider secure his first victory from pole position in a thrilling race one battle. As team-mate Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) crashed out in spectacular style following a tyre problem at the bottom of the Old Hairpin, it left Sykes to cross the line as the victor following a race long battle with Rea. Sykes secured his first victory of the season – and ninth at Donington - ahead of some home heroics from wildcard rider Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team).
Race two saw the stunning action resume as Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) started from pole position ahead of Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) under the new grid reshuffling format. A stunning start from Rea saw him make his way through the field early on in the race, as championship rival Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was involved in his second crash of the weekend, but was again able to rejoin after running off track with Haslam. Rea took the lead from Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) on the second lap and the British rider didn’t look back. Melandri’s Donington return came to a swift end as his chain broke on the eighth lap of 23, whilst team-mate Davies salvaged a podium finish in the final laps. Rea crossed the line to take Kawasaki’s 100th WorldSBK victory, as Sykes’ Donington run came to an end.
WorldSBK now prepares to head back to Italy for the seventh round of the season at Misano, as Davies hoped to repeat his Italian heroics from Imola.