This weekend saw Tom Sykes crowned World Superbike champion at the last round at Jerez, Spain and Alex Lowes became the youngest-ever British Superbike champion during a dramatic title Showdown at Brands Hatch, Kent.
At Jerez, Sykes took his first SBK title after missing out to half a point in 2012. Sykes started the weekend knowing that he didn’t need race victories to secure the title. In race one Sykes rode to a solid third place giving himself a large enough advantage to make his championship win safe. He received his trophy and was awarded the World Championship title, but still had the second 21-lap race to complete.
Gathering his concentration Sykes led for 13-laps of the second race and eventually finished second, with a final championship advantage of 23-points. As well as the championship the SHARK-man took a new lap record at Jerez and also led for 255-laps over the whole season, more than twice the total of the next best rider. Sylvain Guintoli finished the championship overall in third place with 402-points after finishing the final round, fourth in race one and on the podium in third place in race two. Loris Baz finished the championship overall in eighth place.
After taking the World Supersport title on 6 October, Sam Lowes finished his season with a win at Jerez and finished overall 49-points in the lead. Fabien Foret finished third in the overall championship.
Meanwhile at Brands Hatch for the BSB title Showdown, Alex Lowes defeated title rival Shane Byrne in the final race to be crowned BSB champion. The triple-header event – which took place in mixed conditions – was packed with nail-biting drama, taking the title battle down to the final lap of the final race. The 23-year old took second place in race one on Saturday, but a crash in Sunday’s second race would have seen him on the back foot had rival Byrne not also crashed out, which left the SHARK-man with a three-point advantage.
With everything lying on the final race and Josh Brookes taking an early and unchallengeable lead, Lowes and Byrne went head-to-head for second place battling for the points that would award one of them the championship title. In the end, it came down to the last lap and it was Lowes aboard his Honda-machine who had the edge, taking second place to secure his first BSB crown.
Fellow SHARK-supported James Westmoreland finished his season overall in fifth place, while Lee Costello had a fantastic finish to his season landing an incredible pole position and finishing race two on the podium in second place.
Meanwhile in Philip Island, Australia Scott Redding’s Moto2 championship hopes were dashed after fracturing his left wrist during a crash in qualifying and was forced to withdraw from Sunday’s race. Redding was transported to Epworth Hospital, Richmond and underwent surgery with a plate and six screws inserted into his wrist. Redding has the last round of the season at Valencia targeted for his return to racing. After the incident Redding lost his title lead and is now in second place in the championship with 224-points.
Words cannot describe how I feel. I am very level headed but since Magny Cours there are moments where my mind started dreaming. When I was dreaming I had goose bumps and it was magical to even dream I could be world champion. But that was maybe 2% of what I am feeling now after winning the title. In race two it was my intention to do well, even though it would be difficult to top race one as all my energy had kind of gone after the first one. I hoped to be closer to the front but I did not expect to win. I think this was just Eugene’s race, although my Ninja ZX-10R was working very well. All things considered I have to be very happy today. World Champion, podium in the races and it has been an absolute pleasure to race with these guys this year. It was good for the championship that it got decided at the final round again, especially at this beautiful circuit, with these g reat fans. My team is mostly Spanish so it is a home round for them. The championship win has not fully sunk in yet but it will do soon, I’m sure.
I’m pretty happy. It was an unbelievable last race, really difficult, and I just didn’t know how fast to push. I saw on my pit signals that Shane was closing on me and round here that is the last thing you wanted to see. It was a case of keeping focussed and when Shane had got past me I knew that I had to pass him if I wanted the title so I pushed on real hard. I had a few moments but luckily kept it all together and beat him to take the title. To me that really is incredible, because its always difficult with the weather playing such a big part. Saturday’s race was hard – it was difficult to know where the grip was so it was a case of keeping calm and then pushing hard. It felt pretty good but it was quite slippery. In Sunday’s first race Josh Brookes touched my bar and I went down – it was not my fault and I can’t be angry about something that is out of my control. It was one of those things, unfortunate.