Kyle Smith gave CIA Landlord Insurance Honda their first win of the 2016 season with a thrilling last lap podium battle which saw him fight off reigning World Supersport Champion Kenan Sofuoglu.
Smith claimed his second World Supersport victory, following his win in Doha in the final round of last season for Pata Honda, in this season’s fourth round at Dutch circuit Assen.
The Fenay Bridge racer was in sixth position in the dry conditions when a sudden cloudburst deluged the track bringing the red flag out and forcing a wet race re-start.
With everyone struggling with the tricky conditions in the six-lap dash, Smith showed great skill and confidence to claim the win, crossing the line 0.8 seconds in front.
Smith, now third in the rankings, said: “It was a difficult race. But I had good pace in the wet all weekend.
“In the race the track was much more slippery, but the last two laps felt a lot better. I had to work for the win, but I am really happy for myself and the team – it’s great to be on the top step.”
Huddersfield racer Tom Sykes was left to rue a pit error as he chased success in the second race in round four of the World Superbikes Championship in Assen.
Sykes had a hit and miss meeting as he gained the 33rd Superpole of his career but then crashed in race one.
Second place in race two put the 30-year-old on the podium but he was left to ponder over a pitlane change that went awry – leaving him third in the championship rankings on 122 points behind Kawasaki Racing Team colleague and reigning champion Jonathan Rea on 181 and second placed Ducati rider Chaz Davies on 136.
Rea ran out the winner by 2.442 seconds in race two, extending his championship lead in the process with his second double win of 2016.
Sykes’ intermediate rear tyre had an effect on the outcome of his race but in finishing second, after a day one crash and no score, the 2013 world champion recovered in great style and scored 20 highly valuable championship points.
Sykes said: “At the start of the race I just wasn’t able to get the lean angle and the power down using the wet tyres, because of the mixed conditions, so I came into pitlane early. I went for the intermediate front and we managed that front tyre well.
“With the mistake made for the intermediate rear, that cost us.
“Even considering this, our pace was very strong and second position is not too bad. Race one we were in the gravel and so race two finishing in second place is a good result.
“We have had strong pace all weekend, in the wet and the dry, and in warm-up we found a good rhythm this morning.
“It has just been one of those weekends where the results do not fit what we deserve – but that is racing. Now we can focus on the next round and build on the bike set-up that we have been working on.”