Sykes scores first podium of the year in race one.
Jonathan Rea (KRT) scored two emphatic race wins in the first ever WorldSBK races at the Chang International Circuit and in doing so left the new venue with a ten point championship lead. Tom Sykes (KRT) scored his first podium of the year with third place in race one and is now third in the championship rankings.
The first 20-lap race of the day belonged to Rea from green light to chequered flag, as the Superpole winner became race one winner after setting an unbeatable race pace in the 1’34s for almost the whole race duration.
Leon Haslam was second in the opener but Sykes mixed attack with defence as he chased hard to catch a slowing Haslam in the final laps, while also keeping eventual fourth placed rider Jordi Torres behind him to the end. This was Tom’s first podium of 2015, as he adapts to the new technical regulations for the 2015 WSB class.
In race two Rea repeated his perfect display from race one and in doing so scored his first double in Kawasaki colours. He also has the new lap record of 1’33.817 to his credit.
Sykes tried hard to repeat his podium from race one but he was forced to drop back and eventually finished fifth in race two.
In the championship chase Rea is in the lead with 95 points from a possible 100, two-time second place rider at Chang, Leon Haslam, has 85 and Sykes is third with 50 points, nine clear of Sylvain Guintoli.
Motorland Aragon, a home race for the bulk of the KRT staff based in Europe, is next up on the WorldSBK calendar, with raceday on 12 April 2015.
Jonathan Rea: “For me it has been a perfect weekend with pole position and two race wins - we could not have asked for any more. The bike can always be better but at the beginning of the weekend the Ninja ZX-10R was at a really good level, my pace was really fast, the rhythm was good so we did not necessarily chase something we really could have got lost with. Our base setting right now is good and it gives me confidence to push the boundaries and understand the bike. I have not had so many double wins in my career but I have been lucky to have some. They do not come round a lot so I want to savour this moment and reflect on what we have done tomorrow and enjoy these next few days.”
Tom Sykes: “First podium of the year in the opening race so we are heading in the right direction. One step at a time and a podium finish was not so bad considering the feeling I had with the bike. I am not able to do exactly what I want yet. When it is like that you have no answer for guys who have finished in front of you. We tried everything we could and in the end third position was acceptable for where we are at the moment. I got caught up in turn three of the first lap in race two and got dropped back a bit as a result. We had some small issues after that and corner entry was a little bit difficult to manage. We will keep working and try to improve the bike.”