WSBK United States (2): Sykes’ fantastic ride
The second round of the 2016 World Superbike at Laguna Seca was incredibly lively! Sykes took advantage of the magnificent fight between the official Ducatis to win … and the abandonment of Rea to revive the championship. Second Laguna Seca Superbike race 2016 Jonathan Rea takes a poorer start than in the first round and cannot compete…
The second round of the 2016 World Superbike at Laguna Seca was incredibly lively! Sykes took advantage of the magnificent fight between the official Ducatis to win … and the abandonment of Rea to revive the championship.
Second Superbike Laguna Seca 2016 race
Jonathan Rea got off to a poorer start than in the first heat and was unable to challenge pole-sitter Tom Sykes for the lead as he descended to the Andretti hairpin. Davide Giugliano, Chaz Davies, Nicky Hayden, Lorenzo Savadori, Xavi Forés, Jordi Torres, Alex Lowes and Niccolo Canepa complete the Top 10.
Started from a distant 11th place on the grid – but finished fourth in the first round! -, Michael van den Mark misses the first pass in Corkscrew: the Honda rider n ° 60 shoots straight into the deep gravel pit. He starts again in last position.
At the end of the first lap, Sykes has a slight lead over his pursuers. Another English driver is much less satisfied: Leon Camier finishes his race on the second lap by depositing his MV Agusta on the edge of the track.
The leading quartet distances the rest of the peloton on the 2nd lap but Davide Giugliano considers that Tom is not moving fast enough yet! Ducati rider n ° 34 shifts inside Ninja n ° 66 on braking of the third turn, melts towards the rope and comes out on top.
Davide covers the 3rd lap half a second faster than his three comrades, Tom, Jonathan and Chaz who ride in tight formation. Nicky leads a scarcely less compact hunting party: Lorenzo, Xavi and Jordi are in the same second as the American.
The Blues – from Iwata – always close the "Top Ten" on the track, respectively 6 and 7 seconds behind the leader. Anthony West, replacing Sylvain Barrier, clings to his eleventh place, but this one is sought by Raffaele de Rosa and Roman Ramos.
The red flags appear on the edge of the track: Pawel Szkopek is in the gravel at the exit of the sixth turn, the same one that trapped Chaz Davies yesterday in the first heat. The race is interrupted while the Yamaha rider waves to the crowd on a stretcher..
Second start: the race starts again for 21 laps, the grid being established according to the order of passage of the pilots during the last complete lap. Giugliano therefore occupies the first place of the grid in front of the poleman Sykes, Rea, Davies, Hayden, Savadori, Forés, Torres, Canepa, Lowes, etc..
"Major Tom" took off better than Davide but the Italian came out on top of the first sequence of the Californian route. Hayden occupies a good third place ahead of Rea, Savadori, Davies, Forés, Lowes, Torres … and Van den Mark who was able to start from 19th place on the new grid !
Jonathan Rea passed Nicky Hayden in Corkscrew and aimed at Tom Sykes who was then several steps ahead and put pressure on Davide Giugliano. In the background, Aprilia n ° 32 finishes its race in the 3rd lap: Savadori falls in the same place as Lowes this morning at the Warm-up. Fortunately he gets up unharmed.
The temperature rises in the outposts when the ruthless "JR" attacks his two opponents at the entrance to Corkscrew! The reigning world champion emerged first from the famous pif-paf but was passed by his teammate on the descent. Jonathan regains the lead under the braking of the third corner in the next loop.
Rea tries to drive the point home but goes off the track at turn 6 and late returns to the track, at the back of the pack. A few moments later, he stops on the edge of the track, gets off his motorbike to inspect it and climbs back on it … to head for an escape route..
For the first time in the 2016 season, the championship leader will not be on the podium! He will even record a bubble, his second with Kawasaki after his retirement in the 2015 final in Qatar. His championship lead was 71 points over Sykes after winning the first set. What will it be in a few minutes ?
His teammate, in fact, gradually moves away from Giugliano while Davies climbs back in the wake of Ducati n ° 34. About four seconds behind "Chazie", Forés attempted a first attack on Hayden in Corkscrew but finally passed the American on the last corner of the 8th lap..
The Spanish rider – German Superbike champion two years ago! – quickly sets off and lets the famous Honda rider n ° 69 manage alone the pressure imposed by Torres and his BMW, Lowes and his Yamaha, Van den Mark and his Honda.
In front, Sykes’ breakaway is cut short: Giugliano is back! Davies on the other hand, fails to recover. Fourth on the track, the private Ducati of Forés is more than six seconds behind the Ducati n ° 7 and cannot hope for a podium … except for an incident..
A small second behind Xavi, Nicky keeps out of Jordi’s reach. A few lengths behind the BMW n ° 81, Van den Mark is pursued by the two official Yamaha of the holder Lowes and Canepa who replaces Sylvain Guintoli again.
The gaps between the three leading men are reduced to nothing with five laps from the end! Now faster than his teammate – himself more at ease than Sykes – Davies attacks Giugliano in the dive towards the last hairpin and retains – with difficulty – second place in the following sequence.
Far from admitting defeat, Davide takes advantage of a small gap from Chaz in Corkscrew to recover his second place. Up front, Tom knows nothing of what is going on behind his back. The Ninja n ° 66 remains perfectly focused on its trajectories.
At the end of the 18th lap, Davies attacks Giugliano again, this time around the last corner of the course. The Italian defends himself and regains the advantage in the line – not very – right from the pits, forcing Chaz to spit in the gloves.
The Welsh and Italian cross the top of the circuit almost neck and neck. Slightly off course, "Chazie" leaves a large tire mark on the track when braking the hairpin. The fight between the two Ducatis offers a little field to Sykes who runs the penultimate lap a quarter of a second faster than his pursuers.
On the last lap, Tom Sykes continued to whip his Kawasaki but still couldn’t outrun Giugliano. The Italian is however too far away to trigger an attack on the English Ninja and wisely accompanies him to the finish line. Davies completes this second American podium.
Eleven seconds after the leading trio, Xavi Forés crossed the finish line a distant but remarkable fourth place ahead of Nicky Hayden, Jordi Torres and Michael van den Mark. Niccolo Canepa nearly gets mowed down by Alex Lowes in the final corner….
The Italian miraculously stayed on his wheels and finished in a satisfactory eighth place. Lowes, meanwhile, crashed but left to score two points for fourteenth place, ahead of Al Sulaiti, the first Qatari rider to score a World Superbike point..
In the championship, Jonathan Rea’s counter remains stuck at 368 points: the Northern Irishman no longer has two wins ahead of his teammate Tom Sykes (322 points). Chaz Davies who has only finished three of the last six races is 108 points behind the leader…
Mathematically therefore, the Ducati rider n ° 7 remains in contention for the WSBK title since there are still 200 points to distribute during the last four rounds. But given the level of Kawasaki # 1 and # 66, the 2016 world champion will be a Ninja. Which ? Answer to follow on Site: stay connected !
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