The UK round of any championship wouldn’t be right without rain, and that’s exactly what we saw on day two of Donington Park WSBK, but fortunately, the rain eased off before any major track action. Of course, today was about Nicky Hayden who was in the front of everyone’s minds.
In Superpole 2, Laverty was the first to set a fast lap, and it seemed that nobody could break his pace. In the end, it was only Xavi Fores who came close, seeing them both sailing through to Superpole 1.
For Superpole 1, everyone’s eyes fell on Tom Sykes.
He is successful here, securing eight straight victories and eagerly hunting down his 9th. Of course, there are riders who are more than capable of upsetting Sykes’ winning streak. His team mate Jonathan Rea has looked seriously strong all weekend, and all season for that matter and you can never rule out the factory Ducati’s. Wildcarding at this weekend’s round is Leon Haslam with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team, and with Donington Park being his home turf (quite literally), a pole from him couldn’t be ruled out.
Early on it was a battle between the Kawasaki’s for the top spot and it looked as if Sykes was still on his Donington winning form. In the closing minutes, Tom Sykes swooped in to break his own lap record and set a 1:26.6, just .1 quicker than he’s ever done around the British circuit.
Unfortunately for Haslam, it just wasn’t meant to be as he crashed out with just a minute and a half to go, destroying all chances he had of putting it on the front row.
All eyes turned to Tom Sykes as we headed into race one of the British World Superbike championship.
Sykes started on pole, but it was Chaz Davies who got the hole shot to lead Sykes and Jonathan Rea into the first lap. Alex Lowes was pushed right to the back of the grid after getting caught up in a minor incident coming out of the first corner, but he too couldn’t be ruled out.
By lap 3, Davies had a half second lead on Rea, and Sykes had managed to get back through on Haslam at the Melbourne Loop, somewhere he has looked incredibly strong all weekend.
Just three laps later, Davies went down from the lead, leaving Rea with a 2 second gap on Sykes. Davies managed to re-join in 14th, but things weren’t looking great for the Welshman. On that very same lap came a huge moment for Rea which lost him some time, allowing him to close up the gap.
On lap 14, Sykes managed to pass Rea for the first time in the race, but Rea moved swiftly back in on him to regain the lead. By lap 18, Sykes had come through on Rea once more but this time managed to make it stick. By the end of the lap, Sykes had picked up a massive 1.5 second lead, which had increased to almost five and a half seconds with only three laps to go. As it looked as if Rea would have to settle for 2nd, he suffered a massive highside and went sliding down into the gravel, bringing his winning chances to an abrupt end. It turned out that he had dropped back due to tyre issues, which caused the crash. It is still unknown exactly what the issue was.
In the end, it was Tom Sykes who took his 9th consecutive win at the track, followed by wildcard Leon Haslam and surprisingly Alex Lowes, who had worked his way up through the pack after the incident at the beginning.
Today, everyone raced for Nicky, and it is clear that he will always live on through the fantastic racing that we continue to see each weekend.
World Superbike race one results (top 10):
Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team – 33:56.457
Leon Haslam, Kawasaki Puccetti Racing + 16.500
Alex Lowes, Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team + 19.170
Marco Melandri, Aruba.it Racing Ducati + 19.699
Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team + 21.454
Leon Camier, MV Agusta Reparto Corse + 23.376
Leandro Mercado, IODARacing + 24.979
Chaz Davies, Aruba.it Racing Ducati + 26.988
Jordi Torres, Althea BMW Racing + 34.910
Xavi Fores, BARNI Racing Team + 35.178