Sykes Takes Top Six Finish In Opening Race
May 31, 2011
WSBK, Salt Lake City, USA, 31 May 2011 - Tom Sykes moved from the third row to sixth place in race one at Miller, on a day when great progress was made between race one and race two by his fellow Kawasaki rider Joan Lascorz.
In race one Sykes followed through on some strong form from the first dry qualifying session on Saturday, taking sixth in the 21-lap race, despite making a less than ideal start. He had been tenth on the grid, but dropped to 12th on lap two as he got stuck behind slower riders for a time. He recovered with determination and a cool head and was rewarded with his best finish of the year so far.
Lascorz rode manfully in race one from a starting position of 17th to claim points for 14th place, but on far from optimum machine settings he prematurely wore out his rear tyre and lost significant pace from mid-race distance onwards. He hung on to score two points.
In the second race Sykes was unlucky to get boxed in after a much better start off the line and thus had to battle to take tenth place and some more very welcome points. Lascorz was in much better shape in race two than he had been in the opener and finished 12th, with a best single lap time more than a second faster than in race one. Tom is now 13th in the championship, on 50 points, Joan is 15th, on 39.
Pedercini Team Kawasaki Superbike riders Mark Aitchison and Roby Rolfo were just out of the points in race one, and again in race two, after not finding the set-up they need to challenge at this difficult and very high altitude circuit.
Tom Sykes: “Sixth in race one was a positive result, a real improvement on last year’s efforts here. We were strong at the end of the race and set my best lap time three laps from the end, so that has certainly broken the mould. We came through from the third row and a bad start and got into the top six. In the second race we did not make any real set-up changes as we were keen not to do anything too drastic this weekend. Overall I had a lot better launch in race two but there were guys battling to the right of me, then Camier made a good strong move and unfortunately I got boxed in on turn one. The whole race was faster than race one but unfortunately I ended up in a bit of a dice with Jonathan Rea and that allowed Ayrton Badovini to catch and pass me. I am confident we can go away and make more progress and I really want to thank all the team and Kawasaki. We worked together even tighter as a team and that showed through the weekend.”
Joan Lascorz: “I think I just needed to understand the bike a bit better to make the most of its potential. The second race set-up was better. I used the same rear tyre in each race but different front tyres to make different settings and race two was much better. In the first race we destroyed the rear tyre and in the middle of the race my laps were in the 1’55s. In race two they were in the 1’50s - five seconds per lap faster! I think if it had all went well and if I had a good grid position and made good starts we could have been inside the middle of the top ten, maybe.”