Super Sykes delights home crowd with Donington double
Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes completed his domination of the World Superbike European round by recording a double victory in front of his home crowd at Donington Park.
The British rider topped every session throughout the weekend at the Leicestershire circuit before producing another faultless ride to take the chequered flag in race two.
Championship rival Sylvain Guintoli finished second with Ireland’s Eugene Laverty in third.
Sykes’s dominant double was his first since joining the World Superbike Championship and he admitted it couldn’t have arrived at a better venue.
“I have been in World Superbike for a few years now and I got the first double win on home soil is a fairy tale. One click on the front suspension between races made the difference and we could see that in the second race time, which was better than the first one.
“I really enjoyed the support from the crowd and I hope they enjoyed the show. No better place to do my first double than at Donington Park. A good weekend and we are closer in the championship, just four points from the top. We’re in a strong situation, we have a good base setting and now we are going to some fantastic circuits.”
Unlike race one, Sykes held onto the lead at the start and immediately began to open up a gap to the chasing pack. Laverty and Guintoli were embroiled in a battle for second which was eventually won by the Frenchman. But once Guintoli had fought off Laverty on lap four, Sykes was two seconds down the road courtesy of a new lap record.
Marco Melandri soon passed Laverty and the pair entertained the crowd with a cracking dice for third place. The Italian seemed as though he had done enough after passing the Aprilia man with five laps remaining.
However, Laverty repassed him on the penultimate lap and a mistake from Melandri at the Esses sealed the podium for the Irishman.
Nothing could stop Sykes at the front as he took the chequered flag by eight seconds from Guintoli to become the first Kawaski double winner since 2000 and the first double British winner at Donington Park since Carl Fogarty in 1995.
As a result of Melandri’s mistake, Davide Giugliano came home ahead of the Italian in fourth. Chaz Davies was fifth ahead of Loris Baz.
Sykes’ impressive haul of points from Donington has moved him to within four of championship leader Guintoli.
The World Superbike Championship heads to Portugal’s Portimao for Round Six on June 9.