Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) took a brilliant win in Race 1 of the PATA UK Round in a dramatic race which brought crashes for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). Wildcard Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) made it an all-British podium, as Sykes took an amazing ninth successive victory in his home race at Donington Park.
An incident-packed race saw provisional leader Davies go down in the early stages at turn 12, after he lost the front end. He picked his Ducati up to rejoin, eventually finishing eighth having crashed at the same corner as he did in last year’s Race 1 at Donington and this latest incident will be a big blow to his World title aspirations.
With 6 laps to go Sykes got through on his teammate Rea to lead and within just over a lap he had opened up a two second gap on his Northern Irish teammate. Rea then suffered a high speed accident at turn 3, crashing out of the race, but was soon back on his feet and was taken back to the pits on a scooter.
A superb ride by Haslam on his return to the series saw him take a highly creditable second place, whilst Lowes took third thanks to a late move on Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
Dutchman Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) completed the top five, with Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) making it four Brits in the top six to further delight the home crowd.
In seventh place Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) crossed the line a couple of seconds ahead of Davies, with Spaniards Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) and Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) completing the top ten after 23 breathtaking laps around the exciting 4.023km Donington Park Circuit.
The riders and many of the fans in attendance carried stickers and flags in tribute to the late Nicky Hayden who tragically passed away earlier in the week after a cycling accident in Italy, with Sykes quick to pay his condolences to the Hayden family after the race in parc ferme. The podium finishers all wore t-shirts carrying Hayden’s famous number 69 in honour of the Kentucky Kid.
Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) and Riccardo Russo (Guandalini Racing) unfortunately suffered technical issues and ended up with DNFs.
The riders will be back in action on Sunday with Race 2 at the PATA UK Round at 3pm local time.
1st – Tom Sykes(Kawasaki Racing Team)
“Fantastic, I had to work for it, but I need to pass my condolences to Nicky’s family. It’s very strange to not have my next door neighbour here with his great smile so it’s been slightly strange all weekend. In a small way this is basically for him, and overall the weekend has been good and it’s nice to continue our form.”
2nd – Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
“Yesterdays pace, I felt comfortable to fight for the podium but today we had a bit of a problem and with the track temperatures changing it was behaving very differently. Obviously Chaz and Jonny crashed but I was just working my way through, working my own race and I’m so happy for Kawasaki Puccetti Racing.”
3rd – Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
“Leon came up the inside, I went off track and Eugene hit me, that’s expected from Leon with a wildcard, hes one of my best mates off track. It was a fantastic base and the bike was great, we had the pace for fourth but with Marco on the last lap, you’ve gotta go for it.”
#UKWorldSBK at Donington Park: Race 1
1. Tom Sykes Kawasaki
2. Leon Haslam Kawasaki +16.500
3. Alex Lowes Yamaha +19.170