Huddersfield World Superbikes champion Tom Sykes heads to Jerez in good shape as he defends his title.
The 28-year-old returns to the Spanish track – the scene of his confirming his first world crown last year – on September 7 and goes into the summer break in racing feeling confident and with the cushion of a 44-point lead.
The ninth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship, at Laguna Seca in the USA, saw the Kawasaki Racing Team rider Sykes secure a podium place in race one and then follow it up with his eighth race win of the 2014 season, to extend his championship leading advantage over Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli once again.
“I am very happy to have extended my championship lead and it was a great pleasure to take the win,” said Sykes.
“I can go into the summer break very relaxed and very motivated.”
On a very busy raceday Sykes had a strong run in the first race, with only a small lack of rear traction keeping him in third position, rather than challenging for the race win.
He had started from pole and was leading the race before he ran wide into The Corkscrew section, went off track and was passed by Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli and he could not quite get back on terms and finished third, for his 12th podium of the year.
In race two, finally held over only seven laps after two restarts after red flag accidents, Sykes was sitting behind leading rider Melandri when the Italian rider fell, giving Tom a lead from lap two that he would maintain to win by over a second.
The unusually long summer break will only punctuated by an official test session at Portimao this weekend, but Syke is happy with his work so far, particularly in Califormia.
“An eighth win of the year and one more point ahead in the championship – it was good,” said Sykes.
“I knew this circuit would be difficult for us after last year, and then again after race one this year, so if you had offered me that deal last night I would have taken it.
“I thought my points gap may have been reduced after this round. I ran a bit wide at the Corkscrew on lap one of race one but the bike was working well, just not well enough to win.
“The guys who finished ahead of me have a great track record here, have ridden so many times in GPs and both did well last year. I was happy with everything in race one but in the pure performance of rear traction we gave away too much.
“In race one you can talk about having a strategy but in race two, with all the red flags and a short race, it was a case of go big!
“I was motivated after race one and the bike was working well. We made changes for the first attempt at race two and we improved it, and then for the first restart it was better again.”
Want to read, watch and hear more? You can download the FREE Examiner Apple App here, the FREE Examiner Android App here or you can view the paper as an e-edition on your Apple, Android or Kindle device by clicking here
To follow us on Twitter click here