Season Best For Sykes As He Goes Fifth In Race Two
May 11, 2010
WSBK, Monza, Italy, 9 May 2010
The best weekend of qualifying and racing for Kawasaki Racing Team rider Tom Sykes saw him ninth and fifth at Monza on his Ninja ZX-10R, as his recuperating team-mate Chris Vermeulen also scored well.
Tom's ninth place in race one came after a good start, with the Yorkshireman only losing ground in the second half of the race and riding an eventually lonely last few laps. He would have very high calibre company in race two, as he was third on lap one, then contested the final few laps with Noriyuki Haga, re-passing the Japanese star at every opportunity. Tom held him off at the line to record his best result this year for the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.
Chris was once more once more held back by both his 18th place qualifying position and pain and weakness in his injured knee. The Aussie rider fought every lap as hard as he could and scored 18th and 13th place finishes in the two 18-lap races. His grit and determination place him 19th in the overall rankings.
The whole weekend was a boost for the KRT squad, as qualifying for Tom in particular went to plan and he made the final sector of Superpole. He then had the confidence to use his skill to the full for all of each race.
In the overall championship Tom is now 14th on 35 points, with the next race scheduled for Kyalami, in South Africa, next weekend.
Tom Sykes: "In race two I got a good start and stayed out of trouble but I was not quite able to make the pace early on. Obviously Nori made a few strong passes, and I let him do a little bit of the work for a while. Then my lap times improved and I had a go at passing him, but he came straight back at me, in typical Nori style. With two to go I made a pass and get my head down, then on the final corner I rode defensively and pulled off a good result in fifth. All credit to Kawasaki and the team, it is very well deserved and a good confidence booster for us for the rest of the year."
Chris Vermeulen: "In each race I got a very good start, but in the first race we had tried to make a few small set-up changes on the bike, but it was in the wrong direction. Physically it made the bike very hard to handle, to change direction, so I was very tired after race one. My lap times were a lot better in race two and the bike was good, it was just my leg that is still the main thing stopping me from racing to my full potential. But I was happy with the progress in race two and racing with someone like Max Neukirchner, so it wasn't too bad."