WSBK, Portimao, Portugal, 9 June 2013 Tom Sykes scored third in race one at Portimao but then failed to score in the second as his KRT team-mate Loris put in two impressive results, taking his Ninja ZX-10R to a fifth and a fourth place.
In a bizarre raceday for Sykes and his team he hung on well inside the leading three in race one, and did so for the whole race, only losing out in the final two laps to finish third. When he realised he could not quite match the pace of Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli he eased up right at the end to make sure of a good top-three finish.
His luck was to change in race two when he clipped a kerb on his sighting lap at turn one, fell heavily, and was lucky to be able to restart. Tom made it back to pitlane, his team made running repairs and he lined up for the real race start in pitlane itself. Tom then found an issue with a broken sensor for the electronics system, damaged in the crash, and came back into pitlane. After this was fixed he going again to try out his new settings.
Not classified in race two as he finished seven laps down, Sykes nonetheless scored the new lap record of 1’42.475 as his team had made improvements in the bike set-up between race one and race two before Tom’s fall.
For Baz both races were fruitful, as he was only 12 seconds from the winner’s overall race time in race one, and an assured fifth, despite not having a perfect race set-up on his machine. In race two he went one better in fourth place - his second best finish of the year - as he also found a happier set-up in the second outing.
Despite his race two mishap Sykes is still second in the championship fight, although 28 points behind leader Sylvain Guintoli. Baz improved his championship prospects with his Portimao performances. He is now only 14 points behind fifth place after six rounds.
Federico Sandi (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) and his team-mate Alex Lundh each scored SBK points at this tough and technical circuit, with Sandi tenth in race one and then 13th in race two, while Alex Lundh was a retiree from the opener but 14th in race two.
Jeremy Guarnoni was third the Portimao Superstock 1000 FIM Cup race on his MRS Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, with Leandro Mercado (Team Pedercini) fourth. In the points Guarnoni is top Kawasaki rider, fourth, and only ten points behind the leader with four rounds of ten completed.
Tom Sykes: “I expected the first race to be just as close as it was, and obviously the guys who finished first and second were riding really strongly, but I was struggling a little bit with race performance. But we made a good podium and scored good points. Portimao is not one of my strongest circuits and still we could fight for the win. In race two the fall was my fault because in turn one on my out lap I ran over the kerbstone on the inside. The piece of kerbstone looked quite flat but in the last moment I realised it was a big high kerb and it chucked me over the front of the bike. The bike flipped, landed on me and it was a big crash. It hurt my right leg and gave me a headache. We had made improvements on the bike for race two and we proved that was the case because we went on to break the lap record. I was just riding to the limits of the bike in each race. This is my worst circuit but in both races we raced to the limit of the package and it felt easier to do this record lap time in race two. I feel I have let a few people down but I do not want to be too hard on myself as it is the first mistake I have made for a long time.”
Loris Baz: “Race two was a good one and I made a good start like I did in race one. I tried to go with Sylvain Guintoli but I could not follow him. I pushed in the race but when I saw Sylvain going away I dropped the pace a little. Top five is always our target but I think we could have made an even better result than fifth in race one. I lost only one position early on in that race but I felt that the bike did not have the same feeling with the rear as we had in practice and when I passed Carlos Checa I could not push like I wanted. In race two Melandri had a problem and I caught him fast so that was a good race for me. Overall two positive races and we made up points to Chaz Davies in table. If you look where we started on Friday we made a big improvement on raceday.” WSBK results Portimao
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09-06-13Sykes Up And Then Down As Baz Scores Strongly WSBK