2016 Ninja ZX-10R - Rea And Sykes Dominate The First Thai Race
March 13, 2016
KRT challengers Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes shared the lead for all 20 laps of the first FIM Superbike World Championship race at Buriram in Thailand between them, with Rea finally running out the winner by only 0.222 seconds from his team-mate. A strong showing from the new Ninja ZX-10R saw championship leader Rea and now third ranked Sykes finish over nine seconds from the next closest rider.
This was Rea’s third win in succession on the new Ninja, giving him a perfect 75 points after three races, with one more 20-lap race in Thailand to go tomorrow, Sunday 13th.
There was a slimmer of a chance for Sykes to pull back and pass Rea on the final laps today, particularly when a backmarker impeded Jonathan. Despite Tom drawing close to Rea on an inside line into the final corner Jonathan had done enough to make sure the race victory would be his.
Sykes led for 14 laps as he and his machine showed a marked level of race-long improvement in pace compared to the opening round in Australia last month. This was Tom’s first podium of the year and the 20 points he earned today put him third in the overnight championship order, with 41.
Both Kawasaki riders feel that there are even more improvements to come from their Ninja ZX-10R machines over race distance for race two tomorrow, based on their positive experiences today.
Jonathan Rea stated: “The pace was fast; I did not expect it to be so fast as all weekend we have been slower than last year. So it was a good, fast race. I put my head down and with four laps to go I got a small gap of about 0.7 or 0.8 seconds on Tom. On the final laps I got caught out in the first turn by another rider but it was not so much. I had done all my work by then as I had completely emptied my tank with about four laps to go to try and get away.”
Tom Sykes stated: “I am quite happy with that because compared to last year we made a much stronger race. Unfortunately I was struggling in two or three corners, which gave away a lot of advantage. Jonathan was riding very well and on the last laps he was strong but we were also strong at that stage compared to previous races. This is a positive and the gap was not so big to the winner. We have a much better feeling, so this is a good step..”