7 October 2013 French double for Sykes - Fifth win for Kenan

Tom Sykes of the Kawasaki Racing Team scored his third double race win of the season at Magny Cours and, in doing so, took a strong 37 point lead with only one round of the championship remaining.
In the first race Sykes was not seriously threatened after he headed off into the lead at lap record pace, taking a new best lap in race conditions of 1’38.345. He would go on and beat in an even more impressive race two performance.

In the opening race, scheduled for 23 laps, Tom had a two second advantage over Sylvain Guintoli as the laps timed down. When a red flag was shown to halt the race because of a bike laying on track on fire, Sykes was declared the winner and, as enough laps had been completed to call it a full result, he was awarded full points.

The second race also did not quite go the full distance and when rains started towards the end, two riders crashed behind Tom. A red flag was shown to halt proceedings again and this time Sykes was 11.091 seconds ahead in the final race results.

On lap four of race two Tom set a final new lap record, 1’37.932. This was Tom’s ninth race win of 2013, the 14th of his career.

David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) had a tough weekend in some regards as a stand in for team regular Loris Baz, falling three times. He also scored points, however, with two eleventh places on raceday - a good effort from rider and team given that bad weather had robbed them of some clear track time in practice.

A Superstock 1000 FIM Cup race win for Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) was a hometown victory on his Ninja ZX-10R. The race was stopped for a red flag and reduced to an eventual nine laps, which Guarnoni eventually dominated. Lorenzo Savadori (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) was third. Leandro Mercado (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) placed fifth in the race.

Tom Sykes: “It is great to score a double win and we made two small changes for the bike for race two. We are always chasing perfection. That is what we spend our lives doing. When you are on the edge all the time you have got very small changes that make a big outcome.

The bike was very nice to ride and the races went very well. When the circuit and conditions suit a bike and rider you have to take the most advantage from it. Magny Cours was generous to me, the bike and all at Kawasaki, so this was great.

It was spitting with rain at the end of race two and that was difficult to manage, even though I had a big gap and not much pressure. I was sliding the rear a lot. We still have some work to do but the good thing is that we have been there or thereabouts all season.”

In the Supersport race, Kawasaki Mahi Racing Team India’s Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret finished first and fourth respectively in Fabien’s home country of France.

Sofuoglu overcame the effects of a big crash in qualifying on Saturday to join the fight for the top three, on a bike that was extensively rebuilt after his fall. On his 2013 Ninja ZX-6R Kenan sat in third place for much of the race before hitting the front and holding off new world Champion Sam Lowes to record his fifth win of the year.

Having started from 18th place on the grid for his home round only one of the best rides of his career looked likely to allow Foret to run near the front and Fabien duly delivered. His team had found a good set-up for the dry conditions, despite having so little dry track time in practice, and Fabien was able to rip through the field to finish fourth.

In the championship Lowes has 225 points, Kenan is guaranteed second with 181 and Foret looks set to end the season in third place, as he now enjoys a 17-point advantage over the next best rider.

Kenan Sofuoglu: “This was really good because yesterday we had a very fast qualifying time but then I had a big crash, and I was scared that I might have damaged the bike too much. We changed a lot of new parts on the bike and I was able to race and stay with Sam Lowes and Christian Iddon in the early laps. Step-by-step I found more confidence and I was quite happy to fight and then to win the race. I knew we could not really keep the world title today but I knew we could still win the race.”

Fabien Foret: “From our starting position maybe we made a small miracle at my home round but not a big enough miracle! I am always disappointed when I am not on the box after the race but we did a good job for the race set-up and in the race. I had a fun race as I passed so many guys on the way through.”

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