1 July 2013 Sykes takes WSBK Championship lead with double win!

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) continued his untouchable form from qualifying into both 21-lap SBK races at Imola and in taking his second ‘double’ of the year taking the championship lead. Kenan Sofuoglu meanwhile took a great win in the Supersport race.
Imola was Tom’s second such double win in three rounds and with previous championship leader Sylvain Guintoli finally finding bad luck with a DNF in race one, and finishing third behind Tom in race two, Sykes now leads by six points after 7 of 15 rounds have been completed.

The popular British rider once more put in a perfect weekend, as he took both race wins, his sixth Superpole of the year, a new fastest lap in qualifying and a new lap record of 1’47.274 in race one. He has now scored five wins in 2013, more than any other individual rider. He also took his career total of SBK wins into double digits, with ten in total. In the championship table Tom leads Guintoli by 235 points to 229.

Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) was in poor physical shape after a very fast fall on Saturday in Superpole and fought hard to be ninth in race one, unable to push hard because of the pain. After more effective treatment in time for race two, Loris was more like his competitive self and made good use of the improvements his crew and Kawasaki had found with him in recent Aragon tests. He finished race two sixth and is still sixth in the championship, with 126 points.

In the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup race the top Kawasaki rider was Lorenzo Savadori (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) who finished fourth, ahead of fellow Ninja ZX-10R riders Leandro Mercado (Pedercini) and Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki). In the points, Guarnoni is third overall, 25 points from the lead with half a season left to run.

Tom Sykes: “I have had two perfect weekends out of the last three events and for this I am truly happy. I enjoy this circuit so we have made the most of it. A perfect weekend so it could not have been any better. It is a special weekend for many reasons and also the incident last year with my 2012 team-mate Joan Lascorz. There was not one time on any lap when I have exited turn six and not thought about his accident. We are all thinking of Joan and I hope that this is a small, small tribute to him.

Both the ZX-10R and myself have been working well. I have every single individual member of the Kawasaki staff and teams to thank, and our great technical sponsors. Without their help I would not be able to showcase myself so I truly am grateful. Hopefully now this is a beginning of a challenge but we will see how we go.”

Loris Baz: “The main problem for me in race one was the pain in my left shoulder after my big crash in Superpole but to be honest it was sore everywhere so I could not stay with the guys in front. I had great pain in my ankles so I cannot change direction fast and I cannot brake well with the rear brake. In race two it was better and I had some more effective painkillers. From the beginning I tried to stay with them and fight with them really hard behind Leon, then pushed hard in the middle of the race even though it was very tiring."

In the Superpsort race, Kenan Sofuoglu, of the Kawasaki Mahi Racing Team India squad, scored a great start-to-finish win after the race was stopped and restarted due to an oil spill, and finally run over 14 laps.

Kenan’s second race victory of 2013 saw him finish almost four seconds ahead of his nearest challenger Sam Lowes, as the Turkish rider clawed back five points in the championship fight to the English rider.

Kenan has now won 23 WSS races extending his all-time class record in the process.
His team-mate Fabien Foret had a tough weekend in Italy all round and the set-up improvements hehoped for in the morning warm-up did not allow him to compete to the level he expected in the race. He was 12th and is third in the overall standings.

In the championship Lowes has 140 points, Sofuoglu 106, Foret 85 and sixth place rider at Imola, Luca Scassa (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) is also sixth in the points, with 63.

Kenan Sofuoglu: “We had to have two attempts to win but we did it. I really like this track but normally I have very bad luck here and Friday proved to be very difficult. The team worked very hard to find something for me and we changed a lot of things on the bike, even parts and we had to set them up again each time as they were new. I knew I could have had a strong pace and I was confident. As we saw I was really strong enough to fight and win this race. Everything was normal today and I am very happy to win again.”

Fabien Foret: “We could not make the improvements we needed after practice and qualifying and I find it very hard to ride the bike at this minute. At this track you have to confidence in corner entries or you cannot make the lap times. I made a mistake because I was overriding to try and make up time.”

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