Sykes battles with the big guns as BMW return to the rostrum

Saturday, 28 September 2019 13:38 GMT

The 2013 champion dices with the leaders before finishing strongly to take third at Magny-Cours

In one of BMW’s most promising displays yet, Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) claimed the German manufacturer’s fourth podium finish of the season after battling for the lead in the opening laps. The Briton charged through the pack with some bold overtaking early on before getting the better of Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) to finish third.

Sykes’ progress was a feature of the early stages as the 34-year-old stormed into the lead, diving up the inside of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on the second lap. Sykes successfully defended the lead for five laps as WorldSBK produced some of the most entertaining action seen this season.

Speaking after the race, Sykes described the early scrap. “We made a good start, got a little bit boxed in at Turn 1 and then we had a little bit of rubbing. Rubbing’s racing as they say! We were able to keep the bike in a certain position down the straights which made my life a lot easier and once we got to the front, we started struggling a little bit in a couple of braking areas and lost a bit of track position.”

As the race unfolded, the pace of the leading group proved too hot but the late misfortune of Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team), and his brave manoeuvre on Loris Baz on the penultimate lap, proved enough for a podium finish.

“When Michael made a mistake, I thought we had a podium chance and I could see Loris was struggling a little bit for grip and I needed to capitalise”, he added. “I knew if I passed him, I needed to do it halfway around the lap to get a gap going onto the back straight and the plan worked! Credit to the whole team. We made a couple of changes and I just felt more at home, a little bit more comfortable and able to ride my actual style. Considering we’re only 10 months into the programme, the team are doing a very good job. Hopefully we can keep that momentum for tomorrow.”

With today’s result, BMW have now finished on the podium at least once in four of the last five rounds. With a second row start for the Tissot Superpole race, Sykes will have high hopes of finishing the weekend on a high.

Watch more WorldSBK action from Magny-Cours with the WorldSBK VideoPass!