RUSSIA

The Russian round of the World Superbike Championship was overshadowed by a terrible accident that killed the Italian rider Andrea Antonelli. The Supersport race was cancelled, as was the second Superbike race.

Superbike Russia

The Races
The Supersport race had only just started when Italian rider Andrea Antonelli (25) lost control of his motorcycle between turns fourteen and fifteen. Thrown onto the track, sadly to say the Kawasaki rider of the Goeleven team was hit by his compatriot Lorenzo Zanetti who was unable to avoid him. Suffering from severe concussion, Andrea Antonelli died in the ambulance that was taking him to hospital. Out of respect for his family and his team, the organizers decided to cancel the Supersport race and the second Superbike race. In the first, Tom Sykes was forced to retire with mechanical problems, while Loris Baz finished eighth.

The Championship
Having failed to score any points in Moscow, Tom Sykes has tentatively lost the lead of the Superbike Championship to Sylvain Guintoli who ranked sixth in the first and only race that was held in Russia. On the eve of the Silverstone leg of the Championship, the Kawasaki rider, however, is only four points behind the Frenchman. Loris Baz holds in sixth place with 144 points.

The Background
The show goes on. Next year, Tom Sykes will be riding for the official Kawasaki team again. The Brit has just extended his contract with the Japanese automaker until 2014. “I’m really happy to continue with Kawasaki,” he said. “It was my main priority, because I feel really good in the team where the atmosphere is as relaxed as it is professional. I couldn’t ask for more, especially as the bike they’ve provided allows me to finish among the front runners every weekend, regardless of the circuit or the conditions. In addition, extending my contract at this stage of the season will allow me to focus on the championship with a free state of mind.” For Ichiro Yoda, the head of Kawasaki Racing, choosing Tom was also obvious. “It will be his fifth season with us, and I am convinced he can become Mr. Kawasaki as was Scott Russell before him. His twin win at Imola made him realize his true potential, and I’m sure we’re going to end the season with a bang.” Vice-world champion in 2012, Sykes intends to win this year’s crown. Guim Roda, his team manager, is convinced that the Brit rider can make his mark on the discipline. “Tom has made great progress in recent seasons, and he’s continuing to do so,” says the Spaniard. “I’m even curious to see just how far he can go.”

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