Teammate Loris Baz could not find his ideal set-up in the races and finished with two strong top ten finishes, giving the French rider sixth place in the overall standings.
Sykes was so close to the win in the first race that the gap at the flag was only 0.085 seconds and he was delighted to be able to race hard right to the end on his Ninja ZX-10R. A last lap manoeuvre on an inside line at the classic Parabolica final corner took him past Eugene Laverty but not quite to the win itself.
In race two he had to fight hard all the way and scored a third place, only 0.725 seconds from another win. Tom’s new lap record is 1’42.229 seconds, set on lap five in the first race. In the championship Tom is third, on 119 points, 18 points off the lead.
Baz was seventh in race one, improving on his qualifying position of 11th, as he gathered more important points. In race two he had to start from the very back after he stalled his machine on the line but battled through to finish eighth.
The Superstock 1000 FIM Cup race delivered a 1-2 for Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R riders, with Lorenzo Savadori (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) winning by 0.402 seconds from Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki).
No fewer than six of the bikes in the top nine places were Kawasakis. Guarnoni is fourth overall in the championship, only eight points from the leader.
Tom Sykes: “Today I put it all out there for everybody to see. I could not give any more. Race one was a great race, a great battle although I was like a sitting duck at the back for a time. I was waiting to see where those guys were strong, and they have some speed, so I used that to my advantage and it led to a very exciting last lap. I tried to lead after lap 15 and pull a gap but it was not to be, because they reeled me straight back in.
The last lap was great, it was almost a third to first run from the last corner, but I did not want to do anything stupid, so to have the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R working like that here makes me very motivated.
Monza was going to be one of the most challenging circuits we would visit this season but we have come away with pole position, a new circuit record, a lap record and two podiums, so I am happy!”
Loris Baz: “We knew it was going to be a hard raceday for us but in race two we understood a lot and I think we know which direction we have to go at this track. I am confident for the next races and on from here with sixth place in the championship.
The bike stalled on the grid when I put it through first gear so I think I did not give enough gas, so I had to start from pitlane, I think I could have been sixth maybe in that race and not eighth, as I was not pushing at the end.”
In the 600 Supersport race, Florian Marino (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) secured a confident second place on his Ninja ZX-6R in a much interrupted event.
The race was started and then stopped not once but three times before it was postponed to the end of the day's regular action. The first halt came after a crash that involved both Kenan Sofuoglu and Marino who each fell on oil at the second chicane. The final running of the race was cut to ten laps from the planned 16. Marino had qualified second and replicated that finish in the race after a great battle with three other riders.
Fabien Foret was injured in a crash in the third of the red flag incidents and could not make the final restart, having been taken to hospital in Monza for check-ups.
Riccardo Russo (Puccetti Kawasaki) was a battling fourth on his Ninja ZX-6R, with Kevin Coghlan (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) fifth, but still only 1.487 seconds from the win.
Luca Scassa (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) was a top eight finisher, while Vladimir Ivanov (Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini Team) was ninth.
After a highly disturbed day of competition at Monza, Sam Lowes leads in the points, with Foret on an unchanged 54, and Kenan still fourth on 45 points. Scassa is sixth with 34 points.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “Three times they stopped the race and I think everybody lost a bit of concentration. Then they said it would just be a ten lap race and in a ten lap race I knew I had to try everything to go away from the riders behind. I saw that there was 0.6 seconds of a gap but I wanted to make more, because in Monza when you get a good gap then you can go away. Maybe I pushed too much. It is not nice because this is the fourth race and I made zero points twice, so it is not going the way we want it. There are still nice races to go, and I will try to close the gap.”
Florian Marino: “It was a great result for us and my first podium in this class. I had to take some time to get back into the rhythm after one of the crashes earlier in the day, but I just took some time to think. I have to say thanks to the guys in my team for the great job they have done.”
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