Kawasaki Racing team and new world championship leader Tom Sykes secured two races wins in the scorching Italian heat at Imola this afternoon, winning race two by a dominant 5 seconds ahead of Jonathan
|Sykes is now leading the world championship
Photo: World SBK
Rea in second.
Unlike race one, Sykes got a storming start and led into the first corner ahead of Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano and Jonathan Rea in third. Once the Yorkshire Grinner was safely in the lead there was no stopping him and sped off into the lead but with Giugliano right on his tail. However on lap three Sykes was left with clear track both in-front and behind him after Giugliano crashed out of his home race. This boosted Rea up into second position but was already 1.382s back down the road from Sykes. In third position the Aprilia Racing team-mates were battling it out for the final step on the podium ahead of BMW Motorrad duo Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies. On lap six, however, Aprilia’s failed to have both riders finish both races as Eugene Laverty crashed out at Rivazza after losing the front end of his RSV4 machine. This left Guintoli with a very lonely race due to the gap both in-front and behind him.
Sykes continued to pull a gap and on the 13th lap of 21 he had pulled a 4.4 second lead over Rea. Further down the field Leon Haslam, Jules Cluzel and Michele Fabrizio were locked in a battle for eighth position, which eventually ended with Red Devils Roma rider Fabrizio crossing the line the victor. BMW Motorrad provided some action towards the end of the race, and Melandri snatched fourth from Welsh team-mate Davies in the final chicane as Davies has a moment on the exit.
With most riders settling into a strong race pace and rhythm, there were few battles happening in the 21 lap race, however it did mean big things were happening in the world championship standings. With Sykes winning two races and Guintoli only taking home 16 points for this round, the Brit now has a six point lead in the championship standings, after going into the weekend with a 28 point deficit. It was also announced at the end of the race that following being put under investigation Cluzel was penalised by five seconds, however this didn’t alter his finishing position.