Huddersfield racer Tom Sykes served up his second victory of the 2016 World Superbikes Championship and still found himself on the slide in the leaders standings.
The 30-year-old notched his 28th win in race one at round six at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, after giving himself the perfect opportunity by taking his 34th career Superpole in qualifying.
However, the Kawasaki Racing Team rider had a tougher time in race two finishing eighth, while teammate and championship leader Jonathan Rea added a third to his second place in race one.
Reigning champion Jonathan Rea thus increased his overall lead in this year’s standings as he is one 257 points with Ducati rider Chaz Davies on 215 and Sykes remains third but on 187 having lost ground due to his race two struggles – the change in fortune down to dealing with a downpour that forced the delay of the World Supersport race.
“Race One I enjoyed and I was very happy with the Sepang circuit and hopefully we keep improving,” said Sykes, who is looking forward to the next round at Donington Park on May 27-29 where he has scored win doubles in his last three visits.
“We have been close many times this season and we just try and stay smart and going forward the visit to Donington really excites me.”
Rea’s profitable weekend came off the back of signing a two-year contract extension with Kawasaki last week, while Sykes was left to fend off rumours he may be moving to Ducati next season.
“It is all speculation,” said Sykes.
“I have spoken with Kawasaki and for myself it is about concentrating on this season and getting points in the bag.
“Right now I am going to keep my head down and try to win some races.”
In the Supersport series Huddersfield racer Kyle Smith had a real thriller of a ride.
The 24-year-old CIA Landlords Insurance Honda rider started back on row five of the grid, but made an instant impact and was up to fourth by the end of the first lap.
He continued to press and through the third lap he was up to second but he could not keep up the pace and was hauled back in to the field and was sixth going into the final lap.
But there was a bonus and Smith fought back to take fifth overtaking championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu and retaining his fourth place in the rankings.
Race One: 1 Tom Sykes (Gbr) Kawasaki 33mins 30.487secs, 2 Jonathan Rea (Gbr) Kawasaki 33:36.087, 3 Chaz Davies (Gbr) Ducati 33:38.526, 4 Jordi Torres (Spa) BMW 33:48.153, 5 Alex Lowes (Gbr) Yamaha 33:49.100, 6 Davide Giugliano (Ita) Ducati 33:50.358, 7 Michael van der Mark (Ned) Honda 33:54.607, 8 Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda 33:55.948, 9 Anthony West (Aus) Kawasaki 34:03.476, 10 Leon Camier (Gbr) MV Augusta 34:05.951
Race Two: 1 Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda 37mins 04.047secs, 2 Davide Giugliano (Ita) Ducati 37:05.301, 3 Jonathan Rea (Gbr) Kawasaki 37:07.731, 4 Chaz Davies (Gbr) Ducati 37:09.767, 5 Anthony West (Aus) Kawasaki 37:20.036, 6 Michael van der Mark (Ned) Honda 37:24.026, 7 Alex De Angelis (Smr) Aprilia 37:24.075, 8 Tom Sykes (Gbr) Kawasaki 37:27.058, 9 Leon Camier (Gbr) MV Augusta 37:28.092, 10 Markus Reiterberger (Ger) BMW 37:29.186
World Championship standings: 1 Jonathan Rea (Gbr) Kawasaki 257pts, 2 Chaz Davies (Gbr) Ducati 215, 3 Tom Sykes (Gbr) Kawasaki 187, 4 Michael van der Mark (Ned) Honda 125, 5 Davide Giugliano (Ita) Ducati 118, 6 Nicky Hayden (USA) Honda 115, 7 Jordi Torres (Spa) BMW 103, 8 Leon Camier (Gbr) MV Augusta 73, 9 Alex Lowes (Gbr) Yamaha 70, 10 Lorenzo Savadori (Ita) Aprilia 66
World Supersport standings: 1 Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 96, 2 Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki) 79, 3 Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta) 67, 4 Kyle Smith (Honda) 57, 5 PJ Jacobsen (Honda) 56