After a crash in testing last week, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes was upbeat after his pair of fifth places at Phillip Island in the early hours of the this morning. Riding with a broken bone in his left wrist, the amiable Yorkshireman was happy to come away with fourth place in the championship overall after two very different races. In race one it was a case of finding good feeling with his injured wrist and fighting off strong competition and could well have finished higher if the race was two laps longer, unfortunately in race two Sykes’ rear tyre spun on the rim causing vibrations through the bike hindering his progress towards the front of the pack.
|Sykes and Baz in team formation at Phillip Island
Photo: Kawasaki Race Team
Sykes said “In race one, honesty, I was very happy with that top five. It is a shame because we had the package to go a little bit stronger. I managed the beginning of the race but unfortunately in the last six laps, just before I passed Haslam, Davies made a nice pass into turn nine. Unfortunately his style is a little bit different from the one that I have set the Ninja ZX-10R for this weekend and that mean that when I was behind him I could not do exactly what I wanted to do with the bike. We were five seconds from the front, last year it was 12, so at one of our ‘worst’ circuits we have closed a gap and all while I have been riding injured. I think there is a bit more to come. Race two was completely different but I am happy to have left Phillip Island in fourth position. Our rear tyre appears to have been spinning on the rim and I had vibration and chatter, so that sacrificed corner entry. It was a shame because I could not use the bike to its full potential. I am happy considering that last week I was lying at the side of the track, 80% certain I would not be able to ride today. We got good points and we can build on this.”
Kawasaki Racing Team second WSB rider Loris Baz had weekend of mixed fortunes finishing just behind his team mate in race but being the innocent victim of Chaz Davies’ incident in the early stages of race two. Speaking after his early exit from the weekend, the quick young Frenchman said “Race one was a really good result. I was faster in the race than practice but we did not change much on the bike. On a track like this when you are with other people with more experience it helps because they are pulling you along. I was really surprised, because I was not checking my lap times, that on lap 11 I looked and saw a 1’31.8. I was happy with that! I was coming back on Tom and was going to pass Haslam but when I came up on Haslam I had a problem with the tyre so I went really wide. I passed Haslam on the last lap so I am really happy and for a time I was fighting for fourth place. In race two I think Chaz lost the front going into MG, I got hit and my race was over. It was a shame, and I am sure I could have battled with Tom up front again but we have many more races this year to do it.”