Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes secured his first victory of the season as he had to fight off understeer from the front of his Kawasaki ZX-1oR, as well as team-mate Jonathan Rea until the final corner at the Chang International Circuit.
Finishing on the podium in race one, Sykes was unable to hold off the push from Rea on Saturday as he crossed the line 0.2s off despite putting up a fight for the victory.
Getting a stunning start off the line in race two, it was clear the 30 year old meant business and wasn’t letting the heat or front tyre issues affect his hunger for victory.
However taking the win wasn’t an easy feat for the former champion: “The first win of the year for me and I really had to fight for it. I am happy because Jonathan is at an incredible level in this circuit and we have much such a big step from last year – so I really have to thank all of the boys. They have worked really hard in the winter and even now we are still learning. It was a great race, a great battle.
It makes it more satisfying because from about lap six I was struggling with understeer from the front so my corner speed was lower than I wanted. I saw on the big screens at one stage that there were some great riders behind, giving me great pressure, so I had to re-think how to manage the race. To hold on to the win after so-so long is such a great feeling.”
Championship leader and team-mate Jonathan Rea didn’t give up in his attempt to secure his second double victory of the season.
Stealing the victory in the final half of race one yesterday, it was clear Rea would have a fight on his hands to hold off his determined team-mate in the excessive heat and humidity of Thailand.
Despite putting up a strong fight in order to try to get past and pull away from Sykes, the Irishman felt he had a stronger pace but was unable to make a move on the ‘defending’ Yorkshireman.
Making many attempts at turn five of the Burkheim circuit, Rea was unable to make it stick and crossed the line just 0.190s behind Sykes: “We made a small improvement today in the bike set-up and from ten laps to go I feel I had a much higher pace than Tom. I really wanted to win and I tried two or three times but to win a race against Tom when he is strong, and defending very well, you have to go really deep. Massive credit to him; he did a good job today and beat us flat out.
It is good for Kawasaki to have a 1-2 although I would prefer to be the guy in front. Fair play to Tom because I was over my head to win the race yesterday but today I tried my best and got beat. I am sure it was a nice show to watch. We increased our championship lead from Phillip Island and it has been a good day, but I just wanted to win the race. To get beaten is really great for my motivation.”