Tom Sykes looks well on his way to defend his World Superbike Championship. Sunday in race two at Misano, the Kawasaki ace simply pulled away from the rest of the field, held about a five-second lead and then backed off in the end to win by 3.083 seconds. The victory added to his world championship lead. He’s now built his series lead over Sylvain Guintoli to 39 points as the series approaches mid-season.
Sykes’ Kawasaki teammate Loris Baz was nearly as brilliant in his run to second. Baz rebuffed numerous challenges for the runner-up spot by hard-riding Marco Melandri. Melandri supplied relentless pressure and made several passes, but Baz answered back everytime.
Sylvain Guintoli finished a lonely fourth. He seemed to battle with rear tire grip and dropped off the Baz/Melandri battle by about the mid-race mark. Jonathan Rea rounded out the top five, a distant 18.9 seconds back from the winner.
Giugliano got off to an early start and sprinted away to a nice little lead in the first lap. The Kawasakis of Sykes and Baz ran second and third. On the second lap it was signaled that Giugliano jumped the start and would be penalized a ride-through. He would charge back to ninth by the end of the race.
On the fourth lap when Giugliano pulled into the pits, it left Sykes out front by 0.7 seconds over Baz and Melandri.
Early fallers included Christian Iddon and Chaz Davies.
At the halfway point Sykes was clear and pulling away in the lead with nearly a four-second gap. Baz was being challenged by both of the factory Aprilias of Melandri and Guintoli for second. Rea headed the rest of the field in a distant fifth on his Pata Honda.
On lap 14 Leon Haslam crashed his Honda out of the battle for fifth.
On lap 15 Melandri slipped past Baz in a set of esses, but Baz immediately got back to second. It happened again through turn one on lap 19, with Baz being passed and then coming right back. Then another swap again on lap 20 with Baz able to take back his position after a pass.
“I knew Davide (Giugliano) would be fast at least half race distance so I wasn’t prepared to push,” Sykes said. “But when he pulled over, you know, happy days. Then I got on about setting me own race, my own rhythm. Of course the hot conditions were making the Pirelli tires work a little bit harder. The bike was a little bit unstable because I was riding a little bit too much with my left arm (favoring his injured right wrist). This made it extra difficult, but I just kept full concentration. The ZX-10R has been working well all weekend. I knew when it came to the races the adrenaline would give me something extra. Another fantastic race for Kawasaki and I’m really happy with the performance this weekend. I’m looking forward to relaxing for two weeks now.”
Baz was happy with his ride, in spite of not being able to hang with his teammate.
“Tom was really fast from the beginning and I couldn’t follow his pace even from the first lap,” Baz admitted. “Marco was behind me and I knew he would try something in the last laps because of his experience. It is really hard to overtake here, so I tried my best to stay on the front brake hard. I’m really happy. I think this is one of my better races because it was a really nice battle with Marco and everybody knows his experience here.”
The series next moves to Portimao on July 6.
World Superbike results (race 2) from Misano – June 22, 2014
1. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R 21 laps
2. Loris Baz FRA Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +3.083s
3. Marco Melandri ITA Aprilia Racing RSV4 +3.413s
4. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 +5.092s
5. Jonathan Rea GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR +18.975s
6. Toni Elias ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 +19.365s
7. Eugene Laverty IRL Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +20.177s
8. Alex Lowes GBR Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +20.439s
9. Davide Giugliano ITA Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R +33.820s
10. David Salom ESP Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +42.156s (E)
11. Sylvain Barrier FRA BMW Italia S1000RR +43.581s (E)
12. Leon Haslam GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR +51.993s
13. Ivan Goi ITA Barni Ducati 1199 Panigale R +53.714s (E)
14. Riccardo Russo ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +59.316s (E)
15. Alessandro Andreozzi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1m 00.914s (E)
16. Niccolo Canepa ITA Althea Ducati 1199 Panigale R +1m 01.839s (E)
17. Claudio Corti ITA MV Agusta RC F4RR +1m 07.178s
18. Bryan Staring AUS IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R +1m 13.510s (E)
19. Peter Sebestyen HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR +1m 31.715s (E)
Ayrton Badovini ITA Bimota Alstare BB3 (E)
Christian Iddon GBR Bimota Alstare BB3 (E)
Ineligible to score points, removed from results (Badovini across the line 12th, Iddon DNF)
20. Jeremy Guarnoni FRA MRS Kawasaki ZX-10R 17 laps completed (E)
21. Geoff May USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX 16 laps completed
22. Chaz Davies GBR Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R 15 laps completed
23. Sheridan Morais RSA IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R 10 laps completed (E)
Did Not Start
Aaron Yates USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX
Fabien Foret FRA MAHI Kawasaki ZX-10R (E)
Matteo Baiocco ITA Grandi Corse Ducati 1199 Panigale R (E)
Imre Toth HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR
Michael Savary SUI Dream Team MV Agusta RC F4RR