Sykes Wins And Goes Second Overall Despite Race Two Misfortune

September 24, 2012

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) rode from pole to a convincing win in tricky drying condition
in race one at Portimao and in doing so took second place in the championship with only one
round to go.

Unfortunately for Tom and his team a race two technical problem prevented them from going for the double win, or another podium finish, leaving Tom both frustrated at being forced to retire but also clear in the knowledge that he has moved to second in the championship rankings.

Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) took two good points scores in seventh place in each race today and in doing so he is ranked 12th overall, with a total of 116 points.

Raceday dawned fully and surprisingly wet, with some parts of the track underwater for a time, with residual wet patches and a generally damp surface putting the riders on rain tyre choices. The race was stopped after a few laps and the first part cancelled, with the final result being taken from a 16-lap restart. Sykes’ team changed two settings on his machine and Tom was able to run out the race winner, for the third time this year, and get to within 14.5 points of leader Max Biaggi, who was fourth.

In race two, in dry conditions, Sykes was forced out when smoke appeared from his exhaust and with Biaggi scoring 16 points for third place, Biaggi moved 30.5 points ahead of Tom. Previous second place rider Marco Melandri crashed out of the cancelled first part of race one and was unable to restart either race, so Tom is now eight points clear of Melandri with two races left at the final round in France.

For Loris Baz Portimao was to provide two top seven finishes, and very useful championship points, but a morning warm-up crash made the races painful the difficult to complete. He still made great improvements compared to his Superpole qualifying result of 12th.

Pedercini Team Kawasaki rider Alexander Lundh scored 14th place in both SBK races today, with his team-mate David Salom retiring in race one but taking points for 13th place in race two.

In the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup race Team Pedercini Kawasaki rider Bryan Staring took his third victory of the year in impressive style, winning by 1.722 seconds and as a result keeping his slim championship hopes alive. He is now 22 points behind the leading rider, 19 behind second place, so now Bryan needs to win and hope his two main rivals score very few points if any to take the title in France. MRS Kawasaki rider Jeremy Guarnoni was third today, and is now fourth overall, one place and 13 points behind Staring.

Tom Sykes: “We have had some good luck today and also had some bad luck. Obviously on the good luck side in race one, in the first start, we were really struggling. We made two big changes to the bike after the red flag so on the restart it was a different motorcycle and I was able to do what I wanted with it. I felt more comfortable. So a big thanks to the team and Kawasaki for the snap decision to make those changes. I was feeling confident for race two because we had done a lot of work this weekend and I definitely felt we could have had a very strong race. Honestly I felt I could have been top two in that second race, or maybe even better, but it is what it is. Everybody has seen today what happens in racing. Melandri has been relatively on the pace this weekend and through a change of luck of his own he went out of two races. So anything and everything can happen. We had a win in race one, we had problems in race two, and that is what happens sometimes. We are racing at a very high level and sometimes you get dealt this card. I accept it even though it is hard to take having got to within 14.5 points of the lead after race one. I felt I could have reduced that gap again. But it was not to be, so what can you do? We got to France next, pick up where we left off and try to have a strong weekend.”

Loris Baz: “Race one was not so bad when it was wet because we had a problem at the beginning so we were lucky that the red flag came out. We had made a small change but the consequence was really big in the first start. So we were better in the real race. Race two could have been better but we have worked well and when I realised I could not follow Badovini I had to take it easy. I had a big crash in warm-up this morning, a big highside in a downhill corner, which affected me in the races a bit. But last week if you had told me I would come here and take two seventh places, I would have signed up for that.