WSBK: Incredible three-way battle at Chang International Circuit as Rea maintains lead

WSBK: Incredible three-way battle at Chang International Circuit as Rea maintains lead
Rea (Kawasaki) in P2, Sykes (Kawasaki) on the top step and Davies (Ducati) in P3

Rea (Kawasaki) in P2, Sykes (Kawasaki) on the top step and Davies (Ducati) in P3

Sun 13th March 2016 – During Race 2, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes has taken an incredible victory in a three-way fight for the win at Chang International Circuit in Thailand. The Yorkshireman was locked in a battle with teammate and reigning Champion Jonathan Rea and Aruba.it Racing – Ducati’s Chaz Davies for most of the race, with some of the most electrifying racing of the last few seasons.

Pole-sitter van der Mark crossed the line in fourth to see himself off the podium for the first time in 2016 despite pushing hard all race, but the Dutchman is still on an incredible run at the start of only his second season. After a mechanical problem in Race 1 saw his Honda teammate Nicky Hayden retire, the number 69 Honda crossed the line in Race 2 in 5th to keep both the Fireblades in the top 5.

The first drama came when van der Mark and Chaz Davies made contact on the first lap as they tousled for position, before van der Mark led them off to chase the Kawasaki Racing Team pair of Sykes and Rea. Davies then pounced on the Dutchman, and the Welsh Ducati rider was able to close the gap to Sykes and Rea. The stunning three-way battle rolled on all the way to the line, with some incredibly close passes seeing the three riders leave nothing on the track. Eventually coming home third after an overnight improvement of over 15 seconds over race distance, Davies being on the podium is valuable for Ducati in Buriram.

Close racing characterized Race 2 at Chang

Close racing characterized Race 2 at Chang

Sylvain Guintoli brought the new YZF R1 home in seventh for another good result on the Japanese manufacturer’s return to WorldSBK, ahead of the Althea BMW pair of Markus Reiterberger and Jordi Torres. Rookie Lorenzo Savadori brought Aprilia home in the top ten once again in P9, with that top ten completed by Ducati rider Davide Giugliano, who missed the Round through injury in 2015 and had a difficult second race at Chang International Circuit.

Leon Camier recovered well from a tough start to bring MV Agusta points once again in 11th, ahead of Team GOELEVEN’s Roman Ramos, VFT’s Matteo Baiocco and IodaRacing’s Alex De Angelis on the second Aprilia machine, who scored more points for the Italian manufacturer despite a small run off in the closing stages. GP winner Karel Abraham completed the top 15 for Milwaukee BMW after outpacing teammate Brookes in Thailand.

Local riders Anucha Nakcharoensri (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) and Sahustchai Kaewjaturaporn (Grillini) were both classified, with wildcard Nakcharoensri coming home in 18th.
After seeing his teammate Rea dominate much of the 2015 season, the first strike in the fight back for Tom Sykes has landed in Thailand in Race 2, with the next chance for the reigning Champion to take back the win coming at MotorLand Aragon, the scene of the Davies’ first Ducati win last season.

Motul Thai Round – Race 2
1. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki Racing Team
2. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki Racing Team +0.190
3. Chaz Davies (GBR) Aruba.it Racing – Ducati +0.314

For full results of the Motul Thai Round at Chang International Circuit, please click here.

Race 1 –

Reigning Champion Jonathan Rea defeated 2013 Champion Tom Sykes in an inter-team showdown at Chang International Circuit in Thailand. The defending Champion recovered from some big on track moments earlier in the race to hunt down his teammate and eventually pass him with a few laps to go. Sykes kept the pace with the Number 1 plated machine and after having led a majority of the laps, had plenty in reserve for the final lap: the Yorkshireman closed in on his teammate with only corners to go and eventually crossed the line right behind him.

The Kawasaki Racing Team pair got a better start off the line from P2 and P3 and pole sitter Michael Van Der Mark initially dropped back before fighting his way up to just behind Rea. After the Honda rider saved a big wobble, he was left to a lonely ride to P3 to pick up his third podium of the season and maintain his 100% record in 2016. His teammate, 2006 MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden, suffered a technical problem on lap 11 and was unfortunately forced to retire.

The Ducati duo of Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano dueled with some incredibly close racing, before Giugliano lowsided out of the race when chasing his teammate down once again. Despite never having ridden in Buriram, Giugliano’s pace was close to that of teammate Davies. The Welshman was less fortunate in Thailand last season and will be encouraged by a P4 result and a good haul of points on a track traditionally not suited to the Panigale R.

Markus Reiterberger had a great rookie ride in Thailand to P5 and was joined in the top ten by his Althea BMW teammate Jordi Torres in P8. The Yamaha pairing of Lowes and Guintoli both recovered from some trickier moments earlier in the race to bring the new YZF R1 home in P6 and P7 respectively, with the Aprilia RSV4 completing the top ten with WorldSBK rookies Alex De Angelis and Lorenzo Savadori finishing P9 and P10.

Leon Camier recovered from a difficult few sessions before Race 1 to finish in 11th with his MV Agusta, just in front of Team GOELEVEN rider Roman Ramos. Matteo Baiocco, riding for injured Fabio Menghi at VFT, scored points in 13th ahead of recovering Barni Racing’s Xavi Fores and Milwaukee BMW rider Josh Brookes.

Local rider Sahustchai Kaewjaturaporn, who replaced injured Josh Hook at Grillini for the Motul Thai Round, and Yamaha Thailand Racing Team’s Thai wildcard Anucha Nakcharoensri were both classified after a successful Race 1 at their home track.

Race 2 will prove another opportunity for the WorldSBK grid to chase more glory, with the start set for 4pm local time (9am GMT) and Dutch Honda rider Michael Van Der Mark once again on pole.

Motul Thai Round – Race 1

1. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki Racing Team
2. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki Racing Team +0.222
3. Michael Van Der Mark (NED) Honda World Superbike Team +9.623

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