Sykes Extends Championship Lead After Race One Podium Finish
April 29, 2014
Tom Sykes scored a second place finish and then a fourth at Assen as he moved 12 points ahead of his closest competitor in the FIM Superbike World Championship. His team-mate Loris Baz was fourth and then seventh today, while SBK Evo rider David Salom scored 12th and 15th.
In the first race of the day Sykes and Baz were always part of the top four battle, with Sykes chasing early leader and eventual race winner Sylvain Guintoli in patchy track conditions until the race was finished five laps early.
Tom had to drop back for a time when he ran wide and he had to re-pass Baz and Jonathan Rea in his fight back to second place. Sykes was well on his way to catching Guintoli until a red flag came out to stop the race because of an oil spill. Called as a result after 16 of the planned 21-laps Sykes was ranked second and Baz fourth, the young French rider only 4.459 seconds from the race winner Guintoli.
A ten lap second race was much delayed because of rain as the riders were about to start, with the first attempted running only lasting three laps. Two hours after the scheduled start a fully wet race two put early race leader Sykes in fourth place at the flag, with his team-mate Baz seventh.
In the championship Sykes now leads with has 108 points, with Loris Baz third on 93 points. David Salom is 13th in the overall Superbike Championship and second in the Evo rankings, by only a single point.
Tom Sykes: “Sylvain Guintoli was definitely setting a good pace at the beginning of race one and I tried to get back to him in the early part of the race. I caught a little bit of damp track surface on the brakes and the rear end came around. I had to run off the track but I left myself with a lot of work to do. The Ninja ZX-10R was working well and I know I could have got a lot closer to Sylvain but passing is another thing. I am happy enough with second in that race. Race two was held in very greasy conditions and we had made a small alteration to the ZX-10R set-up and it probably wasn’t the best change. The good thing is that we are a lot closer than we used to be and I am sure we could have been even closer knowing now what we did not know at the start of the second race. For that reason I am happy and the guys closest to me in the championship had a bit of a bad race, so fourth was not too bad.”
Loris Baz: “I did not have a good time at the beginning of race one and I nearly fell in the sighting lap. In one corner it was wet and I nearly crashed. I was worried in that section after that but I tried to take the leading pace. It was difficult at the beginning but I think I could have finished third for sure in race one. In the last couple of laps I was waiting to try and overtake Jonathan Rea but the red flags came out. In race two we had not enough grip from the beginning. In the second part of the race it was a bit better but little grip in the rear so it was very hard. It was a difficult weekend in some ways after winning Superpole but we took a few points and did not lose a lot to the first riders in the championship.”
David Salom: “In the first race I tried to push but in the first three laps I did not have a good feeling with the set-up. After that I started to get back to my best pace. In the second race, in the wet, it was not good for me. We tried a change in the suspension for the conditions but it was not in the right direction. When I opened the throttle, even a little it, I would lose the traction from the back. It was not possible to push but it was better to finish where I did than not crash.”