2016 Thailand World SBK Race 2 Results
All eyes were on Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea Sunday ahead of race two at Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand.
The reigning World SBK Champion had doubled two weeks ago at the opening round of 2016 World Superbike in Australia, and earned the race-one win in Thailand Saturday ahead of teammate Tom Sykes and the pole sitter, Honda World Superbike’s Michael van der Mark.
The last rider to win the opening four races in a WSBK season was Neil Hodgson back in 2003 en route to his only SBK title (Ducati). Rea fought hard to match Hodgson’s record, but wasn’t able to complete the feat. The man who stopped him? Teammate Tom Sykes.
The Northern Irishman Rea battled throughout the 20-lap race with Sykes, and was beat to the line by his fellow ZX-10R Ninja rider by a mere 0.190 of a second. Earning the final podium position was Aurba.it. Racing Ducati’s Chaz Davies.
Rea did earn the fastest lap of the Sunday race (lap 5, 1:33.997), but was only able to lead one lap. The 2013 SBK Champ Sykes lead the other 19, and kept the ZX-10R in perfect standings for the opening two of 14 rounds in 2016 World SBK.
Tom Sykes says: “The first win of the year for me and I really had to fight for it. I am happy because Jonathan is at an incredible level in this circuit and we have much such a big step from last year – so I really have to thank all of the boys. They have worked really hard in the winter and even now we are still learning. It was a great race, a great battle. It makes it more satisfying because from about lap six I was struggling with understeer from the front so my corner speed was lower than I wanted. I saw on the big screens at one stage that there were some great riders behind, giving me great pressure, so I had to re-think how to manage the race. To hold on to the win after so-so long is such a great feeling.”
Rea, who is now fifth overall in World Superbike history for wins with 35, says “We made a small improvement today in the bike set-up and from ten laps to go I feel I had a much higher pace than Tom. I really wanted to win and I tried two or three times but to win a race against Tom when he is strong, and defending very well, you have to go really deep. Massive credit to him; he did a good job today and beat us flat out.
“It is good for Kawasaki to have a 1-2 although I would prefer to be the guy in front. Fair play to Tom because I was over my head to win the race yesterday but today I tried my best and got beat. I am sure it was a nice show to watch. We increased our championship lead from Phillip Island and it has been a good day, but I just wanted to win the race. To get beaten is really great for my motivation.”
As for Davies, he initially battled with van der Mark, but was able to pull away and earn third. Davies, who earned fourth Saturday, finished 0.314 of a second behind Sykes.
Davies says “I’m happy with the progress we’ve made since yesterday. Thanks to the team, we solved a couple issues and I could fight at the top again, but we missed a little something to try to go for the win. We still need to improve on the engine side, but this track was probably the most difficult both for me and the Panigale R and still I leave it with a smile on my face. This podium gives me a lot of confidence ahead of the next races.”
When the race got underway, Sykes got to turn one ahead of van der Mark and Rea. But at turn two, Rea was into second as van der Mark and Davies contacted each other. Sykes began dominating, leading all laps but lap 13, which was led by Rea.
Behind, van der Mark remained in third, but by midway through the race, he felt pressure from Davies. After beating the Yamaha YZF-R1 factory bikes, Davies passed the Dutchman with 11 laps to go. Davies then battled for second with Rea, but had to settle for third.
The sole American in World Superbike, Honda World Superbike’s Nicky Hayden, finished behind his teammate in fifth. The 2006 MotoGP Champion, who was forced to DNF Saturday on lap 11 due to technical issues aboard his CBR1000RR SP, was over 10 seconds off the pace.
Rounding out the top 10 were Pata WorldSBK’s Sylvain Guintoli, the Althea BMW Racing Team of Markus Reiterberger and Jordi Torres, IodaRacing Team Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori and Aurba.it Racing Ducati’s Davide Giugliano. As for Yamaha’s Alex Lowes, the Brit suffered his second DNF of the season due to a technical issue aboard the R1.
After two of 14 rounds, Rea now has 95 points – 29 ahead of Sykes, and 30 ahead of van der Mark.
The 2016 World Superbike Championship now breaks for three weeks ahead of round three at Motorland Aragon Circuit in Spain.
2016 Thailand World Superbike Race 2 Results:
|4||Michael van der Mark||Honda||NLD||00’05.199|
|11||Leon Camier||MV Agusta||GBR||00’27.205|
|14||Alex De Angelis||Aprilia||SM||00’38.761|
|21||Sahustchai Kaewjaturaporn||Kawasaki||THA||1 lap|
|22||Imre Toth||Yamaha||HUN||1 lap|
|23||Alex Lowes||Yamaha||GBR||11 laps|