Former World Superbike Champion Tom Sykes had broken Kawasaki team-mate Jonathan Rea’s winning streak at Thailand’s Buriram circuit today, taking the second race after a titanic scrap with the Irishman as Ducati’s Chaz Davies also found himself in the hunt after struggling yesterday.
Sykes and Rea were at it hammer and tongs in the closing laps, swapping paint before a last-lap move from Rea looked to have sealed the deal as he looked to make it four wins from four races. But an error allowed Sykes to move back past with five corners left and he was able to defend until the chequered flag, crossing the line with less than two tenths in hand.
Davies, meanwhile, had to contend with Michael Van Der Mark early doors, but pulled himself back to the leaders as the Kawasaki pair tripped each other up. The Aruba Ducati’s top-speed deficit was highlighted time and again but Davies’ mid-corner speed - and the fact he is the last of the late brakers - meant he had an answer this time.
The Welshman finished just a tenth of a second behind Rea for third whereas yesterday, when he also had to content with tyre problems, Davies had a 17s gap to the leader. He just didn’t have enough at the end as Rea and Sykes were using every piece of track and trick in the book to try and seal the win.
Sykes led from the lights and set a fast pace but then it dropped off after only eight laps as Sykes said he thought he had cooked his front tyre. The Huddersfield rider changed his strategy and decided to try and defend as best he could, with Rea commenting in parc ferme that his team-mate was even blocking him on the straights.
Michael Van Der Mark was also in the mix early doors, stuffing it under Rea on lap one to take second away but a small collision with Davies into turn three put him back and the young Dutchman just didn’t have the pace to stay with the Panigale as it set off in pursuit of the Kawasakis.
Nicky Hayden, on the second Honda, ended his race in fifth place ten seconds off the leader after passing the Pata Yamaha of Sylvain Guintoli in the closing stages. German Markus Reiterberger was again the leading BMW in seventh, just ahead of team-mate Jordi Torres. Luca Savadori bagged ninth on the Aprilia RSV4 with Davide Giugliano’s Aruba sank back back to tenth at the flag after challenging in the opening laps.
Britain’s Leon Camier took 11th place on the MV after another difficult start. Reigning BSB champion Josh Brookes finished just outside the points in 16th, one behind Milwaukee BMW team-mate Karel Abraham. The Australian opted to take the softer rear Pirelli along with the rest of the field but expressed concerns over tyre life which seemed to have come true.
Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes was forced to retire again after another technical problem.