Two solid podiums
By making it twice to the podium in Donington, Jonathan Rea further increased his overall lead. The Kawasaki rider now has sixty-four points more than his closest opponent in the overall standings.
If the first step of the podium escaped him this time, Jonathan Rea did not attend the British stage of the Superbike World Championship in vain. The reigning world champion took second and third places instead. «I was able to lead for a few laps in the first race before I had power control problems,» said the Kawasaki rider. «The second race was difficult for other reasons. Everyone was very aggressive during the first few laps and I ended up with cramps in my arms that preventing me from keeping in contact with van der Mark.» Third on Saturday afternoon, Tom Sykes had to be satisfied with a sixth place the day after. The Kawasaki rider had made it to the Donington podium for each of the last seven years… «I lacked grip in the first race and made a bad choice of tires for the second,» he said. Finishing second in the second race, Toprak Razgatlioglu made it to his first podium in the premier-class category. The Pucetti team rider became the first Turk in history to score a top three in the World Superbike. In Supersport, Sheridan Morais was ninth while Hikari Okubo fell in the fifth lap.
Mission accomplished for Jonathan Rea. The championship leader wanted to leave Donington with a lead of more than fifty points over Chaz Davies, and now sixty-nine points separate the two candidates for the world championship title. Tom Sykes is fourth in a tie with third-placed Michael van der Mark, who had a twin-win in England. In Supersport, Sheridan Morais has moved up a place, and is now fifteenth. Japan’s Okubo lost one, and is now nineteenth.
Tom Sykes now holds the absolute record for the number of pole positions in the World Superbike. In Donington, his favourite track, nicknamed by his «Doningtom», the Brit chalked up his forty-fourth Superpole. In late February, in Australia, Sykes equalled the record held by Troy Corser. Now is alone out in front. In a nod to history, Roger Burnett, the man who signed the first pole position in Superbike, in 1988, on the same Donington circuit, was the person who awarded the former world champion his new trophy. Of the thirty-four victories he has in the class today, Tom Sykes has won nine on the English track. «To win this record at Donington is just amazing,» said Jonathan Rea’s teammate. «In my country, in front of my supporters, my friends and my family… I am also very proud to have obtained forty-four Superpoles with Kawasaki. I have always paid a lot of attention to that criterion because it means you’re the fastest rider on the grid. Clocking up the fastest time in a qualifying session requires a lot of concentration. You have to be able to get the best out of your gear, go from flat calm to full speed in a snap. You have to have the right feeling with your bike from the start lap, heat your tires properly and trust your equipment blindly to push its limits. Go harder into the bends, accelerate sooner… It’s a very exciting exercise.»