It was a case of nearly but not quite for Tom Sykes at the Circuit Van Drenthe in Assen, Holland today as the Englishman almost made the perfect weekend of racing. After taking pole position for race one in Superpole on Saturday afternoon, the Huddersfield-born rider was full of self-belief and looked to take both race wins to match his qualifying efforts.
|MAHI Kawasaki Team celebrate a successful day
Photo: Kawasaki Racing Team
After his dominant success in race one, Sykes and his MAHI Kawasaki ZX-10R lead from pole position again in race two but was shadowed closely for nineteen laps of the twenty-one lap race by Aprilia-mounted Eugene Laverty. The pair rode well to build a gap over the pursuing pack with Sykes trying his upper most to break clear of the Northern Irishman and record his second victory of the day to complete the ‘Gentlemans Set’ of Pole Position, fastest lap and two race wins. However, it wasn’t to be as Laverty made his decisive move with two laps remaining, holding on despite intense pressure from the Kawasaki man in to the last chicane for the final time.
Sykes said after the race “Almost the perfect race weekend for us after winning Superpole as well. We have made progress after a slow start to the season so we will build more momentum now to move it all forward again. The bike was working well and was very consistent today. When Eugene came past me in race two I realised it was much easier to follow than to lead round here and it was just unfortunate that exiting the final chicane on the last lap I hit the kerb on the inside when I was trying to pass him, and I was out of the seat. It would have been great to win race two as well but I am happy with the day and we had and the great support at Assen from all the Kawasaki fans and some Tom Sykes fans. Race one was great for us and we did all we could. We have had a very strong winter test programme, learned a lot and have a lot of information and data. Now we are finding where we need to be. Overall I am happy because we did a lot of hard work in free practice yesterday. To be honest I surprised myself a little but the Ninja ZX-10R is working great. We have some great people who fight in my corner and they have given me a strong package so that I can do quite a lot of what I want to do with the bike. That first race was nice and believe me, to see that pit board gap get bigger every lap is magical for a rider.”