Reigning World Superbike champion Tom Sykes maintained his push towards retaining the title with two podiums at Laguna Seca.

After taking third place in a tightly contested first race, the Kawasaki Racing Team rider claimed victory in the second race at the Californian circuit following two restarts after his fellow British rider Alex Lowes suffered a spectacular crash.

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki rider Lowes crashed out at the Corkscrew on Lap 11 and red flags were shown, with the rider taken to hospital for X-rays, which showed he had not sustained any fractures.

Sykes led from the front when the race got back under way over seven laps, only for the red flags to be waved again following an accident involving BMW Motorrad’s Sylvain Barrier.

Barrier was later seen conscious and alert before undergoing tests at the medical centre.

The distance was completed at the third time of asking, with Sykes taking the chequered flag ahead of Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli and Pata Honda ‘s Jonathan Rea after Aprilia’s Marco Melandri crashed out.

Melandri had tasted victory in race one as Aprilia took a one-two on the podium ahead of Guintoli and Sykes, who had ceded his advantage from pole after a mistake at the Corkscrew at the end of lap one, who now holds a 44 point lead in the championship.

Another bonus for Sykes was to notch a 23rd career Superpole in a new lap record and the 28-year-old said: “To take pole here was very exciting, especially after we struggled a bit earlier in the weekend.

“It was crucial to be on the front row, so when I put a qualifying tyre in I had a little stab at getting the best lap.

Tom Sykes in action at Laguna Seca 2014
 

“I had a little adventure in The Corkscrew, but I came out of the other side and that set me up for two good performances on race-day.”

Round 10 of the championship is on September 7 at Spanish circuit Jerez.

Championship standings: 1 Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 325, 2 Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia 281), 3 Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda) 261, 4 Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) 253, 5 Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) 217, 6 Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) 159, 7 Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) 153, 8 Toni Elias (Aprilia Racing Team) 137, 9 Eugene Laverty (Voltocom Crescent Suzuki) 134, 10 Leon Haslam (Pata Honda) 133.

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