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Tom Sykes at the 2017 World Superbike Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round

Rea survives drama to maintain podium streak as Sykes tastes race success in Italy

Jun 182017

WorldSBK may thrust the same names to the forefront week after week but the 2017 series has not been without incident or surprises as Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round drew the FIM World Championship to Misano, Italy and breached the halfway point of the campaign.

Kawasaki Racing Team duo Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes both picked up trophies in the sprints on Saturday and Sunday: Sykes savouring his second victory of the year in the first race as Rea grabbed third spot, while the Brits went 2-3 behind Marco Melandri in the second run under fine Italian sunshine.



Sykes welcomed an unexpected triumph after setting a record lap to grab Pole Position. The Brit was hovering in fourth as leader Michael Van Der Mark crashed out and the chasing Rea was almost caught in the melee. Rea and Chaz Davies vied for first place until the final corners when the Ducati man fell and Rea was – this time – unable to avoid his rival. The contact was spectacular with Rea ramping the horizontal red bike. Davies was taken to a nearby hospital for medical checks but Rea was amazingly able to pick up the ZX-10RR and make the finish line for third position just behind Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes.


“The plan was to just release the brake and go up the inside of Chaz on the last corner, but unfortunately for both of us it did not get that far,” Rea explained. “He made a mistake and tucked the front and I am super-sorry that I hit him but I had absolutely nowhere to go. I hope he is OK. I can’t remember ever being on the podium in a race I have fallen in.In van der Mark’s crash earlier in the race I had to go off track. I was so close to almost hitting him and then his bike almost hit me. It was certainly eventful.”


Sykes gladly profited. “In the end the circumstances meant we were able to win today and finally for this I am happy. We will take the 25 points and nothing more to ask for. In racing you have to accept things like this and I only hope that Chaz is OK.”

“I am really satisfied with the results today but unfortunately we could not challenge for the win because I felt we were struggling a little bit, as the rear tyre was completely out of balance. I was having a lot of rear vibration and chatter,” Rea said. “That was really difficult to manage. We have to be very satisfied with the result and go back into the garage now to understand exactly why we struggled more today. In the championship standings we are in a good position right now.”


The fast kinks and curves of Laguna Seca in northern California will ring out to the howl of WorldSBK in three weeks time.