Starting from pole for the fourth time this year Sykes led both Donington races and finished within 1.609 seconds of the win in the first 23-lap contest of the day. He was in combative and consistent form in race one but in race two he had no choice but to let his pursuers finally get past when he made a small error.
Tom looked set for a fifth place in the second race, after the second close and entertaining fight entered the last lap, but calamities for riders up front saw him promoted to third. Despite finishing behind championship leader Max Biaggi in race two he is now only five slender points behind the Aprilia rider.
Tom has now scored five podiums in the nine races so far, including his win last time out at
Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) made up places in both his starts from 18th on the grid, going 16th and just out of the points in race one, then taking a great eighth in a second race with only 15 finishers.
Tom Sykes: “Race one was a fantastic race, I really enjoyed it and it certainly felt like a long one as it seemed to go on for many laps. Overall I think we had a very good show, lots of passing and a little bit too much at some corners, especially at the Foggy Esses, which seemed to claim a few victims. Unfortunately we seemed to struggle at one particular part of the track and that definitely affected our race performance. Yet again we got the hole-shot and led for a number of laps in race two, but I was missing a bit of feeling with the wind, which was unfortunate. I managed to stay out front but made one mistake and all the other guys came past at a rate of knots. We didn’t quite have the best setting this weekend but a pole position and two podiums are great for myself and the
Loris Baz: “Race two was really good. To be eighth is a result even if there were some crashes from other riders. I think it would have been about 13th or 14th without those and that is really positive for a first race. But crashes are part of racing and I took some good opportunities. If you look at my lap times I did nearly all my laps alone in front of a group and if you take off the first lap I was about 0.9 seconds from the pace of the fastest riders, like Tom, Rea or Melandri. Less than one second from the top riders in my first race at this level is pretty good.”
After qualifying fourth on Saturday Kenan Sofuoglu understood very well that he could possibly win the Donington race but on the day the front running force of British rider Sam Lowes took the prize. Sofuoglu was pushing him hard in the latter stages, but realising he risked a crash if he pushed any more and he finally accepted second place, keeping his championship lead.
Having now scored four podiums in five races, including a win in
Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step Racing) suffered a head knock in practice but pluckily rode on to finish tenth and score points enough to only drop him one championship position, to fourth overall. He is now 26 points off the lead – just over one race win’s worth of points.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “In the beginning of the weekend I was finding it a little difficult but all weekend we have worked well to find a good set-up and we did not so bad for the race. In the early part I really tried to follow Sam and Jules. Near the end I tried to attack Sam again but I saw he was too fast and maybe I would crash if I tried any more. I thought then that maybe I just had to take a second position and finish the race. To win world championships you have to get on the podium every time and make every race very strong. I am quite happy to be leading the championship still.”
Fabien Foret: “I feel a little bit tired because I hit my head pretty hard when I fell in practice. Since then I lost a bit of confidence in a track that has always been a bit like that. I will be happy to go home after three hard rounds and move on again at Misano. After round two and leading by 20 points I leave round five in fourth place, so it has been a bit tough recently. But I am also tough so I will come back.”