After a start-to-finish win from pole position Tom Sykes (KRT) secured his first WorldSBK race victory since Misano in 2017 in emphatic fashion, heading up a KRT 1-2. Championship leader Jonathan Rea (KRT) finished a strong second today, despite launching from the third row of the grid after winning the first Assen race on Saturday.
Securing what his first but Kawasaki’s fourth WorldSBK race victory of the year, 2013 world champion Sykes got back to his very best today, running clear of his early rivals and maintaining a remarkably consistent high pace throughout. He started from pole on Sunday as he had finished fourth on day one, and made the very best of his opportunity.
After a trademark front-running Sykes win Tom enjoyed a final margin of victory of 5.445 seconds and his second podium finish of the 2018 season.
Rea was fourth after one lap, then third after four laps, before taking second place on lap six. By that stage Sykes had already opened up a gap of 3.5 seconds, which grew as Jonathan had to defend his position at one stage.
Maintaining his own high pace, Rea had to fight off the attentions of eventual third place finisher Michael van der Mark in the middle of the 21-lap race. Jonathan reasserted himself to keep his rival two seconds behind at the flag and secure his sixth podium in eight races.
After showing real Ninja spirit all through a gloriously warm and sunny race weekend in the Netherlands, Rea leaves with an extended championship lead and Tom has propelled himself up to fifth in the championship, just two points behind fourth place.
Rea now has 159 points, Davies 129, Melandri 115, van der Mark 103 and Sykes 101.
The next round will be held at Imola in Italy with racedays on 12th and 13th May.
Tom Sykes, stated: “The Ninja ZX-10RR today was great on a clear track. I was disappointed with yesterday’s race, for a number a reasons. But what can I say about the win today? Big thanks to my family, friends and ultimately the crew. I have not had an easy time in the last 18 months or so, but the good thing is that Marcel is not just my crew chief, but also such an amazing friend. He has helped me and gently reminded me of where we have come from in the past, and how we got to where we are now. I knew that the results have not justified the efforts we have put in until now. I also knew last night that a little bit of magic and the Sykes’ spark was there. I think there is no doubt in my speed and today we converted that into all 21 laps. I am very, very happy for this and it was quite emotional to win today.”
Jonathan Rea, stated: “My track position did not help in the beginning. I wasted a lot of tyre life and energy coming from ninth. When I had free track I could see that the gap remained constant. I also ran into some issues with vibration, backing in and the bike becoming a bit unstable. I managed my own race then and totally accepted that today was not going to be my day. Tom was stronger but my race was compromised by my ninth place start. You cannot give a guy like Tom pole position after his pace yesterday. Kudos to him and his team they did a great job, and I can take my points and march on to Imola pretty happy. I have a 30-point lead. It was target achieved at this round and I am feeling better with the bike each week.”
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 8, Wins 3, Podiums 6, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 57 (42 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 118 (76 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 15 (11 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 8, Wins 1, Podiums 2, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 102 (101 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 43 (43 for Kawasaki)
5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 113 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 356 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 75 – second overall