Race Two Podium Extends Rea’s Championship Lead

2016-05-15 06:29
In a wet second Superbike World Championship race at Sepang Kawasaki Racing Team rider Jonathan Rea secure third place and a strong points score to extend his championship lead to 42 points. Tom Sykes (KRT) could not replicate his race one victory in the wet of day two and he finished up eighth. He is still third in the overall championship standings.

With no previous wet experience to call on at the resurfaced Sepang circuit both official Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R riders had little time to find a good set-up on full wet tyres. Starting from pole in the case of Tom and third place in the case of Jonathan they made good launches from the startline in search of more podium success.

Rea led early on and was able to hold onto a good pace for most of the race, even fighting back in the later stages to reclaim third place and a podium from his nearest championship rival Chaz Davies. In doing so he managed to keep his points total moving ahead once again and he now has 257 points to Davies’ 215, after six rounds.

Soon after the start Tom realised his set-up was not going to allow him to challenge and despite fighting for every point he dropped back to finish eighth, on a drying track surface that made his set-up issues more profound. He is still a healthy 62 points ahead of the fourth placed rider in the championship and leaves Sepang with another race win on his record thanks to his Saturday performance.

Today’s wet race was won by American Nicky Hayden; his first victory since joining the WorldSBK championship from MotoGP. The next round will be held at Donington Park in the UK, over the weekend of 27-29 May.

Jonathan Rea stated: “It is so difficult in a weekend when you have all dry sessions, a dry race one - and then two hours before race two a monsoon comes in! I am proud of my team because they were so reactive to the changing conditions. I feel we got it quite close and my bike was giving me quite a lot of feedback out there. The strategy in the wet was just to do the rhythm. It was important to keep the corner entry traction off the tyre, as normally that is the first area that suffers. So when I set off it was just about managing everything. Nicky was too far in front for me to want to really grit my teeth and go for him. I was happy with our performance and that was the maximum we could do. Maybe if I had the race again I could have gone with Nicky in the beginning but third was the result we got today and we achieved our target for the weekend. That was to increase our championship lead, so I am happy we did that.”

Tom Sykes stated: “It was a big shame after the strong run we have had over the other parts of race weekend. I looked at a small change for the dry conditions today but heading into the wet we took on some experience from the Assen weekend and then went racing. But when the water cleared the grip from the surface was quite high. Unfortunately we did not have the perfect set-up for the grippy surface. I was not able to push the tyres onto the ground and get the traction we needed. Other than that, I felt if we would have made some changes we could have been stronger. I am disappointed not to capitalise on our momentum from yesterday’s win, but this is racing sometimes.”

Replacement rider for the injured Sylvain Barrier, Anthony West (Pedercini Racing Team Kawasaki), had a great ride to fifth place on his privateer machine despite having no previous experience of riding this machine in wet conditions.

Josh Hook (Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki) once more scored a point for 15th place with stand-in rider Gianluca Vizziello (Go Eleven Team Kawasaki) 16th. Dominic Schmitter (Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki) was 19th and Saeed Al Sulaiti (Pedercini Racing Team Kawasaki) 20th.

Source: Kawasaki Racing Team

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