Contrasting fortunes for Kawasaki Racing Team duo

Saturday, 24 March 2018 13:20 GMT

Following an early duel between the green machines, Tom Sykes spiraled backwards through the field.

After dueling on the opening two laps for the top two positions in this weekend´s Motul Thai Round of the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship, fortunes for the remainder of the 20-lap distance couldn´t have been much more different for Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes.

The pair were separated by just three thousandths of a second in Tissot Superpole 2, and it was Rea who came out on top again in Race One, narrowing his deficit in the Championship overall to just two points with a first victory of the campaign.

“I am so, so happy”, reflected the three-times World Champion, “because where we started the weekend with the set-up we were a little bit behind.  But I had 100% faith in my team and we never lost the direction, so thanks to everyone.  I am slowly but surely finding a good feeling with this bike.”

Having twice come from behind to hit the front, and then come under attack from eventual runner-up Xavi Forés, Rea was never completely at ease.  “I made a really silly mistake in T3 – I went off the track – which brought the gap back down and I had to do all of the work again at the mid-part of the race.  Anyway, my team have given me a good bike this weekend to have some confidence back after Philip Island.  I wouldn´t say I´m completely in love with my bike just yet, but it´s coming.”

Meanwhile Rea´s teammate Sykes, who started the stronger of the two, eventually tumbled to sixth.  “Unfortunately we dropped into brake problems”, he explains.  “Fighting with Jonathan on lap two I was already adjusting the brake a lot.  And then after five laps I ran out of adjustment.  So  a long old race; I was so disappointed.  The bike itself was working quite flawlessly all weekend and I felt really, really strong, and I think I showed that in practice and Superpole.  So tomorrow we need to make up for lost ground, and already we´re looking at trying our best for this problem with the braking not to re-occur, and to go racing!”

To see how Kawasaki´s stars take on the rest of the teams in #THAIWorldSBK Race Two tomorrow, tune in live on the WorldSBK VideoPass.