At the Donington Park World Superbike double-header, Tom Sykes once again showed his capability at his home track, winning pole position and the first race, and finishing second in Race 2 aboard his factory Kawasaki ride.
Sykes set a lap record en route to winning Superpole, but in the first race, Chaz Davies (Ducati) rocketed to an early lead. Roles were quickly reveresed, with Davies crashing on Lap 6 (eventually ending in eighth), leaving Sykes to battle for the win with Kawasaki teammate Jonathan Rea, who had also pulled in front of him.
With three laps left, Rea had a tire blowout, leaving Sykes alone for the win, his ninth at Donington Park. Leon Haslam finished second on a wildcard Kawasaki; Alex Lowes finished third on the factory Yamaha, after Marco Melandri ran off-track in front of him.
Melandri ended in fourth on the Aruba.it Ducati. Michael Van Der Mark ended in fifth on the other factory Yamaha.
In the second race, Rea managed to stay out of trouble and bested Sykes; they finished 1-2, with Davies taking his Ducati to third place. Unless one of them crashes, those three riders appear to be safe podium bets in any race they enter this season.
Michael Van Der Mark landed in fourth, and Lowes finished in fifth.
The victory was Rea’s eighth this year, giving him a 55-point lead in the standings; he dedicated his win to recently deceased World Superbike racer Nicky Hayden, and indeed, much of the weekend was overshadowed by the news of Hayden’s death just a few days ago.
Of the 22 racers who started the second showdown, only 14 finished; there were eight retirees, including Melandri, who’d done well in the first event. Melandri is now sitting in fourth place overall on the Ducati, but he’s far enough back of the top three riders that he’s unlikely to crack a top-three spot in the standings at end of season (barring disastrous circumstances for the riders ahead of him). Meanwhile, the Yamaha factory squad is already showing to be quite competent in the first weeks of running the R1-based racer, and it’s hard to imagine they won’t get better as the season goes on.
Kenan Sofuoglu won the Supersport race for Kawasaki, followed by Lucas Mahias (Yamaha) and Jules Cluzel (Honda). Mahias still leads the standings, but Sofuoglu is gaining on him.
World Superbike Top 10 after Donington Park
- Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki, 260 points
- Tom Sykes, Kawasaki, 205 points
- Chaz Davies, Ducati, 185 points
- Marco Melandri, Ducati, 137 points
- 5. Alex Lowes, Yamaha, 121 points
- Michael Van Der Mark, Yamaha, 102 points
- Xavi Fores, Ducati, 99 points
- Leon Camier, MV Agusta, 84 points
- Jordi Torres, BMW, 72 points
- Eugene Laverty, Aprilia, 58 points