This weekend SHARK riders were in action at Imola, Italy for the World Superbike Championship and at Assen, The Netherlands for MotoGP. The weekend was a success for SHARK’s supported riders with a double SBK win and podiums in WSS and Moto2.
Tom Sykes continued his untouchable form at Imola winning both SBK races, scoring his second double win of the year and taking the championship lead. A perfect weekend for the SHARK-man not only saw the two race wins but also his sixth Superpole of the year, a new fastest lap in qualifying and a new lap record of 1,47.274 in race one. Fellow SHARK-supported Sylvain Guintoli finished third on the podium in the second race, after a DNF in race one. Sykes’s teammate Loris Baz struggled after a fast fall in Superpole on Saturday and fought to be ninth in race one, and sixth in race two.
Meanwhile the World Supersport race was reduced to 14-laps after an oil spill six-laps into the first race. At the restart Sam Lowes suffered a bad getaway and slipped into sixth place, then worse after an off-track moment went down to tenth. Lowes managed to regain momentum and steadily worked his way up the pack and a last lap drive saw the young-Brit claim second place. Lowes still holds the championship lead by 34 points.
The next round of the SBK and WSS Championships will continue from Moscow 19-21 July.
Moving to The Netherlands for Moto2 Scott Redding took a hard fought second place at Assen. Taking maximum advantage of his front row start, Redding slotted behind the pole-sitter before taking the race lead on the second lap. Redding battled with Espargaro throughout swapping places, and on the final lap Esparagaro slipped past Redding to take the win by just one tenth of a second.
The next round of the MotoGP Championship takes place at the Sachsenring, Germany from 12-14 July.
I have had two perfect weekends out of the last three events and for this I am truly happy. I enjoy this circuit so we have made the most of it. A perfect weekend so it could not have been any better. It is a special weekend for many reasons and also the incident last year with my 2012 team-mate Joan Lascorz. There was not one time on any lap when I have exited turn six and not thought about his accident. We are all thinking of Joan and I hope that this is a small, small tribute to him. Both the ZX-10R and myself have been working well. I have every single individual member of the Kawasaki staff and teams to thank, and our great technical sponsors. Without their help I would not be able to showcase myself so I truly am grateful. Hopefully now this is a beginning of a challenge but we will see how we go.
Normally I’d be disappointed with finishing second, but not today. It was a close race and it was good for me to know I could put pressure on Pol throughout, despite him having a bit of a speed advantage on the straight. I could pass him in sector one, but he’d just come back at me in sector two or sector four. In the end I went through and tried to pull a gap, because I knew it would be difficult to hold him off on the last lap if we were close. It was all going to plan, but then the bike jumped out of sixth gear and that was enough for him to close on me again. It was a close fight, and Pol made some hard moves on me, but I was smiling in my helmet for the whole race. It was great fun, so losing out on the win by just a tenth at the end wasn’t as disheartening as it would normally be.