WSBK: Hayden spectacular in big wet for first WorldSBK win


1 Sykes dominates race one Sepang

WorldSBK Race one:   Sykes strikes in race one

Kawasaki Racing Team rider Tom Sykes took an incredible win from pole in Sepang Malaysia Saturday, after smashing the best lap in Tissot-Superpole. Teammate and reigning champion Jonathan Rea came home second for a KRT 1-2, ahead of Racing – Ducati rider Chaz Davies.

The big winners off the line in race one proved to be Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes and Honda’s Michael van der Mark, with Lowes taking the lead from P2 on the grid and van der Mark slicing through from tenth to sixth, before KRT duo Rea and Sykes moved through on the Yamaha. Sepang veteran Nicky Hayden, after initially losing out off the line, soon broke into the top 5 to chase down the lead group.

Sykes began to pull a gap on teammate Rea, who found himself chased by key championship rival Chaz Davies. The Yorkshireman also set a new lap record on lap two, his first flying lap of the track, on his way to a commanding lead and victory. Jonathan Rea on the sister ZX-10R followed his teammate home to second after eventually shaking off the challenge of Ducati’s Chaz Davies.

Davies was the lead Ducati in race one once again as the Welshman took his machine to yet another podium to cement his consistent challenge, and teammate Davide Giugliano, after missing the round in 2015 due to injury, fought for position in the second group before crossing the line in sixth.

Markus Reiterberger made good on his promise in Sepang as the rookie of the track and impressed for Althea BMW, leading a charge back up the field to fourth in a stunning show of pace, until suffering a mechanical problem that forced him to retire. Teammate Jordi Torres also found great pace in race one in Sepang as the Spaniard fought to the front of the second group to take fourth.

Alex Lowes, after a run off in the first half of the race, staged an impressive fight back for fifth and scored a good haul of points for Pata Yamaha as the team run only one bike after Sylvain Guintoli’s crash in Imola.

Honda duo Nicky Hayden and Michael van der Mark had a race of opposites as the American suffered more towards the end of the race and his Dutch teammate moved up the through the field. After the duo met in the middle on track, van der Mark was able to take his veteran teammate on the penultimate lap to come home just ahead of Hayden in seventh.

10 Anthony West   Kawasaki    Sepang

Australian Anthony West, riding for injured Sylvain Barrier at Pedercini, moved up in the race from his grid position to come home in ninth, an incredible result after only getting on the bike for the first time on Friday. MV Agusta rider Leon Camier suffered in the early part of race one in Sepang but fought back steadily to close out the top ten and Aprilia duo Lorenzo Savadori, fastest on Friday, and recovering teammate Alex De Angelis, were both running in the points before being unable to see the flag due to separate incidents on track. Josh Brookes beat Sepang veteran Karel Abraham over the line in the Milwaukee BMW inter-team battle, ahead of Lucas Scassa, a replacement rider, and Xavi Forés for Barni Racing Team. Grillini rider Josh Hook was the final points scorer, with the Australian rookie closing out the top 15.

Race one result  1.   Tom Sykes – Kawasaki   2.  Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki   3.   Chaz Davies – Ducati

Australians   9.  Anthony West – Kawasaki     11th – Josh Brookes – BMW   15 Josh Hook – Kawasaki

5 Nicky Hayden Honda  Sepang

World SBK Race two:   Nicky Hayden takes first WorldSBK victory in stunning wet weather display

Honda World Superbike Team rider Nicky Hayden crossed the line in Sepang on Sunday to take his first ever win in World Superbike. The American, a rookie in the class, took off from the pack in a supreme display of speed and control in difficult conditions. Ducati’s Davide Giugliano came home second after a late charge, ahead of reigning champion Jonathan Rea.

Sunday in Sepang saw sun replaced by rain as a downpour hit the circuit just before the WorldSSP race start. As the weather conditions worsened and the world supersport race was postponed until after WorldSBK, the riders had a long look at the sky in preparation for a wet race.

A cautious line up threaded through turns 1 and 2 for the first time as the front row of Sykes, Rea and Lowes was joined by Honda rider Nicky Hayden from the second row. Hayden, who is a veteran of the track but a WorldSBK rookie, then began to pull a gap on second placed Rea as riders behind battled for position.

With grip tricky to judge, only Kentucky Kid Hayden seemed confident in the initial laps, with Rea remaining behind in second place as Lowes and Sykes struggled to find similar pace. With the top three settled as Hayden, Rea and Davies, it was second Racing – Ducati rider Davide Giugliano who then began to set the fastest laps of the track and caught teammate and title contender Davies. After shadowing the Welshman, Giugliano then made his move and took the position, then heading off after Nicky Hayden in pursuit of a victory. The Italian came home in second after the late charge, as Rea passed Davies to lock out the podium in third, ahead of his Welsh title rival who crossed the line fourth. Defending champion Rea remains the only rider on the grid to have been on the rostrum in every race.

Honda’s Michael van der Mark moved up from his tenth grid position to end the race in sixth after a spectacular last corner against Alex De Angelis after a race of spectacular duels, with Aprilia rider De Angelis also making good progress from his starting position as he recovers from injury.

Tom Sykes, after starting from pole, suffered in the conditions in race two in Malaysia and eventually crossed the line in eighth.   Queenslander Anthony West, riding as replacement for Sylvain Barrier at Pedercini, lived up to his reputation as a maestro of wet conditions as the Australian came home fifth, giving the team their best result of 2016 so far and proving the second Kawasaki on Sunday.

4 World SBK in the wet Sepang

Leon Camier, after another top ten result in race one, took  ninth in the wet on Sunday afternoon, with Markus Reiterberger completing the top ten for Althea BMW after a mechanical problem forced the German to retire in race one. Pata Yamaha rider Alex Lowes, after starting from his best qualifying position, suffered a crash in race two and has been diagnosed with a closed fracture of his collarbone.

“It feels pretty good to be up here and to win the race,” said winner Hayden after race two.. “In the first laps I tried to get in front, try to get clear track and pull a bit of a gap. We had no idea what the tyres were gonna do in the wet. As the track started drying I was a little worried and it wasn’t easy. I’m very happy to get this win. I want to thank my team and all my supporters and I want to dedicate this win to my Dad. He asked for a podium this week as he has had a rough week and I told him I would see what I can do. I went a little bit better so I hope he is having fun.”

Hayden will be back out to try and repeat the feat in two weeks as the WorldSBK paddock heads to England’s Donington Park for round 7.

Race 2 result  1.  Nicky Hayden – Honda  2.   Davide Guigliano – Ducati   3.   Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki

Australians   5.  Anthony West – Kawasaki  12th   Josh Brookes – BMW   15th   Josh Hook – Kawa

Champ point score after round 6

  1. Rea – 257   2. Chaz davies  Ducati  215   3.  Tom Sykes – Kawa 1877 Nicky Hayden with crew

WorldSSP …Home hero just misses out on victory in Sepang as Ayrton Badovini withstands last lap attack

Local rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin kept raucous home fans on their feet at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, as the WorldSSP rookie went from his P5 grid slot to both lead the race and challenge for the victory on the last lap. On the final corner, Fahmi just lost out to Ayrton Badovini, as the Italian managed to cut back on the inside to beat the Malaysian over the line by a whisker. GRT rider Gino Rea, after good pace all weekend, made good on his grid position after initially leading and completed the podium in P3.

In a Race postponed until after WorldSBK due to weather conditions at a rainy Sepang, it was British GRT rider Rea who got the best start, rocketing away into the lead in front of reigning Champion Kenan Sofuoglu. The Turk’s teammate Randy Krummenacher lost ground in the first lap to cross the line tenth after Lap 1, with local hero Zulfahmi Khairuddin making up places from P5 on the grid to duel with Sofuoglu and close down on then race leader Gino Rea.

The new asphalt at Sepang was drying out as home hero Khairuddin leapt through into the lead at the final corner on Lap 3 to head a WorldSSP race for the first time. The conditions mixed up the World Supersport grid for an exciting race of nervous apexes, with the home hero shining and Ayrton Badovini taking an incredible win to add to the host of different riders to have topped the tables in WorldSSP so far in 2016.

Honda’s PJ Jacobsen got another good haul of points in P4 as the American kept cool under pressure, and was the lead rider in the group of key Championship rivals. Reigning Champion and points leader Kenan Sofuoglu suffered more in the conditions than his pace in the dry had shown, crossing the line in P6 as wet weather specialist and Assen winner Kyle Smith took his CIA Landlord Insurance Honda into the top 5 and past the Turk in the closing stages.

MV Agusta Reparto Corse title hopeful Jules Cluzel took a good amount of points in P7, just ahead of WorldSSP rookie and Sofuoglu’s teammate Randy Krummenacher as the two men fight to catch the Turkish points leader in the title standings. Alex Baldolini had a solid ride for a top ten finish in P9, as fellow Italian Federico Caricasulo closed out the top ten  to gain another good result in his rookie year.

“We didn’t expect this but when we started the race in the wet conditions the feeling was good on the bike and I was thinking ‘I think we can do well..’ I was waiting for something in the last corner and then looking for a solution. He passed me in the corner and I saw he was going a bit long so I tried to close and it was an incredible fight. He’s a nice rider and it was a good race.”

WorldSSP  results     1. Ayrton Bavodini – Honda   2. Zulfahmi Khairuddin – Kawasalo   3.  Gino Rea – MV Agusta

Australians    16   Aiden Wagner  – MV Agusta    19 Lachlan Epis – Kawa