WorldSBK: Review of round 2 from Thailand


Rea dominates

We take a look at round two of the WorldSBK from Thailand. A dream race for the local boy in the World Supersport and Jonathon Rea had a perfect weekend…

Race 1

The first ever WorldSBK race to be held in Thailand has been won by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) who dominated the 20 lap encounter at the all new Chang International circuit in Buriram. Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) joined him on the podium.

Rea who jointly led the standings before today’s opening race, led from the start, building up a 2 lead over the chasing pack, by the end of lap 5, winning by 6.329s at the flag.

Former champion Tom Sykes made a great start from the second row, shadowing his team mate for the opening few turns before he was passed by the Aprilia Racing machine of Leon Haslam who then set about hunting down Kawasaki mounted Rea.

As the leading two eased away, the battle for 3rd was intense with Sykes, front row qualifier *Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Chaz Davies (Aruba Ducati SBK) and Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) embroiled in a titanic fight that saw a number of close overtaking moves around the 4.5km circuit. Davies crashed out of 5th at the end of the 9th lap, the double podium finisher in Australia was able to remount, eventually finishing in 11th.

“I’ve had a great time. I didn’t expect to win, it was great to experience it all again but I’ve had my time so I am happy to go home and enjoy my family, and leave it to the young guys.”

Troy Bayliss

Jonathan Rea celebrates

Race 2

The second WorldSBK race of the day at the Chang International Circuit saw another lights-to-flag victory by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), who claimed his 18th career win and extended his lead in the championship to 10 points in the process. The third double of his career Ulsterman capped a perfect weekend for the Ulsterman, who was dominant all weekend long as he also claimed Pole Position and recorded the fastest laps in both encounters. Incredibly enough, he led every single lap of racing, too.

Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), who was keen to make up for the error that cost him a race one podium made a lightning start, shadowing Rea for the first half of the race before succumbing to fellow British rider Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), who notched up his second consecutive 2nd place of the day.

Other KRT rider Tom Sykes had a fairly uneventful race to claim 5th just behind Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), who scored another solid result in his debut WorldSBK season in 4th. The Spaniard pushed hard to overtake the former champion with two laps to go, eventually completing a successful manoeuvre into turn 3.

Clutch problems for the reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) saw the Frenchman having to start from the rear of the grid after missing the sighting lap. He would have an incredible first lap that saw him complete the first lap in 12th. He would eventually finish 6th after getting the better of team-mate Michael van der Mark, who made up for his retirement in race one by finishing 7th.

“For me it has been a perfect weekend with pole position and two race wins – we could not have asked for any more. The bike can always be better but at the beginning of the weekend the Ninja ZX-10R was at a really good level, my pace was really fast, the rhythm was good so we did not necessarily chase something we really could have got lost with. Our base setting right now is good and it gives me confidence to push the boundaries and understand the bike. I have not had so many double wins in my career but I have been lucky to have some. They do not come round a lot so I want to savour this moment and reflect on what we have done tomorrow and enjoy these next few days.”

Jonathan Rea

Wilairot leads WSS race


Ratthapark Wilairot (CORE Motorsport Thailand) has won the second round of the World Supersport championship coming home ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpre) who were second and 3rd in a photo finish at the end of an enthralling 17 lap race that had the packed grandstands on their feet with each lap completed.

From the start it was Kenan Sofuoglu that took the holeshot, the Turkish rider keen to make up for his mistake in the opening round of the series, but by lap 5 a group of five that included championship leader Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Kyle Smith (Pata Honda World Supersport Team), PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) and local hero Ratthapark Wilairot (CORE Motorsport Thailand) were locked together, much to the delight of the local fans.

Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) crashed out of the top 8 at turn 5 on the 8th lap, the Italian was unable to continue. Kyle Smith slid out of contention a lap later, the British rider who was on the podium in Australia clearly annoyed with himself.

Jules Cluzel who had been leading for most of the race retired with 3 and a half laps to go leaving Wilairot to claim an emotional first race victory in his home country.

“It’s an incredible feeling. I knew we could have been on the podium today and when I saw all the fans here I realised I had to make it in the top-3, I could hear them cheering on every single lap. Today is a day to remember not just for me but for all the Thai motorcycle racing fans. I am so happy of what me and brother did today. I think our father (who passed away in 2010) would be very proud of us.”

Ratthapark Wilairot

All photos and text courtesy of World SBK Media