Having overcome the effects of injury to his left wrist in recent testing, and then losing track time, Sykes recovered well to post results he did not expect even just a few days ago. He is now fourth overall in the rankings. Baz would have been much higher up the overall points than his current 13th place if he had not been taken out in race two, when another rider hit his machine.
In the first race Sykes was away second off the line and held that position for some time before being forced back by other competitors, some of whom would later fall from contention. Sykes, riding with a small crack in his left wrist, was uncomplaining after race one and felt he had a good run to fifth place, and could have even taken more. He was only 5.73 seconds from the winner. Loris Baz had a great ride in race one, recovering from a grid position of 11th to finish sixth, and he was up to fifth place at one point.
In race two Sykes led but found that his tyre had spun on the wheel rim and his bike suffered from rear vibration from then on, losing places to other riders initially but battling to his second fifth place finish. Loris no-scored in race two after another rider hit him at the bottom of the slow MG corner. Kawasaki Pedercini Team competitor Alex Lundh scored points in race one for 13th place, his team-mate Federico Sandi was 16th. In race two Sandi was 14th and Lundh 15th.
Tom Sykes: “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.”
Loris Baz: “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.”
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