WSB Donington Race Two: Sykes secures first ever double-podium at Donington.
Race two of the European round of the FIM World Superbikes at Donington Park began with Sykes looking to secure his first, ever double-podium and with the locally-based Frenchman, Guintoli looking to maintain his championship points lead.
As in race one, Sykes was fast out from the lights and within three laps had broken the lap record that he had set in race one earlier in the day - not just once, but twice - setting a new, record time of 1'28.094.
Rea, much favoured to improve upon his first race performance had a difficult start and had dropped back to seventh place within the same distance. Camier struggled too, suffering all day at the tight, left-hander at Goddards, and low-sided for the second time in two races. Despite managing to pick the bike up and continue racing his day was all but over.
The surprise of the second race was Giugliano - with his unorthodox and not always popular style - and by the quarter point he had moved up to a creditable fourth, behind Guintoli and Laverty who were battling hard for second place. Meanwhile, Sykes had opened up a 3.7 seconds lead; by lap nine this was extended to an unasailable 5 seconds.
With first place effectively sealed by Sykes, and Guintoli extending the gap behind himself in second, the battle for third became the focus of the action with less than a second splitting the distance between Laverty, Giugliano and Melandri.
The pace and race craft of Melandri soon saw him take third, using the entire kerb to power away and leaving Laverty to content with a slowing Giugliano. This wasn’t to hold however, and Melandri was soon re-joined by Laverty in the fight for that crucial, third, podium place.
Laverty piled on the pressure to Melandri and by the penultimate lap he swept into third place. Any final thrust for the line from the Goldbet BMW rider was halted when he ran through the gravel on the final lap.
This was Sykes’ day and he crossed the podium 8 seconds in front to secure his first ever, double podium win.
Speaking immediately after the race, Eugene Laverty was pleased with the result, “This is my first ever Donington Park podium. After 2012, which was an expensive weekend for Aprilia considering that I cartwheeled the bike down the track, I hope they're happier this year. I knew we weren't going to catch Tom [Sykes] today - he was on another planet - but this weekend was always going to be damage limitation and I'm happy”.
His Aprilia teammate - Sylvain Guintoli - too was much happier with this second race ride, “I'm much more happy with this race [than race one]. I rode a lovely race, but Tom was faster – even faster than in race one. He was simply impossible to beat today. I've never been on the podium here either, so second is a good finish. It looks like we're going to have an interesting championship. A third and second isn't a bad result at all and I think that if we carry on racing like this, then we're back on track.
The last word – naturally – was left to a triumphant Tom Sykes, “I've been in world Superbikes a few years and have never done the double so to get that on home soil is a fairy tale. We’re very close now in the championship, we’re not here to make friends, we're here to race. With some fantastic circuits coming up, it's going to be tight!’
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