16 September 2013 Sykes extends lead while Sofuoglu wins at home

Tom Sykes started from pole at Istanbul and took his KRT Ninja ZX-10R to a third and a second place in the two 18-lap races, extending his championship lead to eight points after 11 rounds. Meanwhile Kenan Sofuoglu marked his first WSS ride at his home circuit with a hard fought win.

Sykes led both WSBK races and battled hard to try and win each one. He was 3.432 seconds from the winner in race one and only 1.708 seconds from double race winner Eugene Laverty in race two.

Crucially, at this advanced stage of the year, Sykes beat his closest rival Sylvain Guintoli each time and he now leads him by eight points, gaining seven points on him this weekend.

With Loris Baz not riding at Istanbul Tom flew a strong solo KRT flag this weekend, scoring his seventh Superpole win of the year on Saturday, two podiums which take his season total to 13 and he also broke through the 300 points barrier, with a new total of 323.

Tom Sykes: “Two podiums even though it was the first time for me here. We had only two-and-a-half hours track time against two top riders who have previous experience of this circuit. We made two or three changes to the bike between races and I think everybody saw that our bike was working a bit better in the second one. We started that race quite strongly and I was able to lead again but some of our competitors were using the tyres a little bit better, so Eugene Laverty was able to catch me.

Unfortunately I did not have the package at the end of the second race to fight back and try to win it but I believe that we can learn and improve from this weekend. We leave with an improved points lead and that can only be a good thing.”

Riding his Ninja ZX-6R Kawasaki Mahi Racing Team India rider Kenan Sofuoglu took a fabulous victory on home soil after competing with his championship rival Sam Lowes all the way though a dramatic 16-lap Supersport race.

At one stage it looked like Lowes may have too much pace for Sofuoglu, despite the intense home support for the Turkish rider, but Sofuoglu drew on every scrap of experience and all the performance of his Ninja ZX-6R to pass and re-pass Lowes on the final few corners and come out on top by the narrow margin of 0.040 seconds.

Such was the speed of the leading duo at the fast and flowing Istanbul Park circuit that Kenan was over nine seconds up on the third place rider at the flag.

In the championship itself Kenan kept his championship hopes alive with this remarkable victory and he is now 49 point adrift of Lowes, with 50 points remaining for any rider who wins both the remaining rounds. This was Kenan’s fourth win of the season, and the 25th of his glittering WSS career.

A fighting race for Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Mahi Racing Team India) saw him battle for a top ten finish but ultimately fall after losing the front on lap 12. He no-scored but remains third in the championship battle,

Kenan Sofuoglu: “To win my home race was just incredible. There were so many people supporting me I just had to bring the Turkish flag to the front. I tried everything so I am so happy for them as well.

Turkey is something like winning the title for me. This was the first time I have raced at a home track after 12 years of competition in Europe. Winning the race is something like a dream for us in Turkey.”