WSBK, Miller Motorsport Park, USA, 29 May 2012
Kawasaki Racing Team rider Tom Sykes scored eighth and fifth place finishes today in the USA and in doing so went equal second in the table. His team-mate Loris Baz was also in the points twice.
Having qualified third on the grid, despite struggling for a time to match his usual practice excellence at a circuit that proved challenging for man and machine, Sykes was unable to overcome a less than ideal race set-up in the first race, which went to a full 21-lap distance.
He led for the first four laps but eventually dropped back as he was unable to make corner entries as fast as many of his rivals. He finished eighth.
Race two was started then stopped after three laps when another rider’s machine hit the kerbstones and in the resultant crash spilt significant quantities of oil on the track surface, causing a long delay to the eventual 18-lap restart.
Tom was second off the grid for that race but he was forced back to fifth and had to battle hard to the end with Eugene Laverty to keep his fifth place.
Loris Baz, being eased into his relatively new role as replacement rider for the injured Joan Lascorz, rode sensibly to take a point for 15th in race one and go one place better in race two. He had been 17th in qualifying.
In the championship Max Biaggi leads with 160.5 points, Marco Melandri and Sykes share 142.5 and Baz’s three points in America put him 20th in the rankings, with 11 points in total.
In the Team Pedercini Kawasaki squad Leandro Mercado and David Salom both no scored in race one, then Mercado was 17th in race two, while Salom once more entered the pits to retire.
Next round, when the Supersport World Championship riders join the party again, will be at Misano in two weeks’ time.
Tom Sykes: “We were much better in race two. We made a bit of a change in set-up, three changes really, and I was able to be a bit more competitive. In the early laps I got behind Melandri and felt really good but unfortunately Davies came past and really upset my rhythm. It made it difficult for me to do what I needed to do, so my pace slowed.
I just missed that slipstream from Melandri. In race one I was missing some front traction so I was not able to get the bike into the corners very well and obviously that affected my mid-corner and exit speed. You cannot give anything away to these boys but unfortunately this weekend it looks like we did for a while.
We cannot get carried away with any thoughts like that because we are still second equal on points in the championship despite having a disappointing weekend by recent standards.
We have got some better tracks coming up and I am looking forward to getting there. It is just hard for me to sit in my chair and debrief when some of the others are on the podium spraying champagne. I have got the taste for it now!
On balance the guys in our team have done a great job again at this difficult track and in race two we were able to make changes that worked out quite well.”
Loris Baz: “Two races in the points was good but I wanted a bit more! The team wants me to keep getting used to the bike and they guys have told me not to risk a crash. In the first race I had good lap times and I finished ten seconds from Tom Sykes, which was really good. The second race was also going well but I could not follow Fabrizio, as he was a bit too fast.
I was with Badovini through almost all the race. I was waiting to pass him and I think I passed him four times in the last two laps, a big battle but I could hear all the guys in the team in my head saying not to crash, so he finally passed me back. We scored points again and we are getting a good setting for me, and every session the bike is getting better.”