Sykes, World Champ at Jerez

World Superbike 2013

maddix park mx By Byron Wilson

Kawasaki's Tom Sykes is the 2013 World Superbike Champion.
Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes clinched his first ever eni FIM Superbike World Championship after a third-place finish in Race 1 at Jerez. The 28-year-old rider gives Kawasaki its first title in the series in 20 years and finishes with a record that includes 18 podiums, nine wins and eight pole positions. Aprilia Racing’s Eugene Laverty swept the final round of the season and he finishes the year second overall.

Race 1 

Laverty turned his pole position start to an early lead, which he maintained throughout all 21 laps of the first race. Sykes trailed the Aprilia rider through the initial lap but fell back to third-place as BMW Motorrad GoldBet’s Marco Melandri pushed ahead. Melandri mounted a spirited challenge for the lead through the entire race, but fell short of the win by two-tenths of a second. 

The highlight of the battle between Melandri and Laverty came late in the race. Melandri pushed past the Irishman with a hard-braking maneuver that pushed both riders wide. Laverty pulled the throttle and quickly caught back up to the Italian. On the final corner of the final lap Laverty made a bold move past the BMW rider just before the checkers for the win.

“The pass in the last lap was one of my best ones,” said Laverty. “I knew I had to try on that turn but I only had a fraction of a second to decide on the move. I would have been disappointed to finish second after leading the whole race basically from the beginning. Marco overtook me quite aggressively and we both went wide, but there isn’t any problem because we cleared the air straight away. My compliments to Tom Sykes and his team. They ran an excellent race and they deserve the Rider Title.” 

“Words cannot describe how I feel,” said Sykes. “I am very level headed but since Magny Cours there are moments where my mind started dreaming. When I was dreaming I had goose bumps and it was magical to even dream I could be world champion. But that was maybe 2% of what I am feeling now after winning the title.”

Laverty’s teammate, Sylvain Guintoli, finished fourth ahead of Red Devils Roma’s Toni Elias in fifth. Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano crossed the line in sixth with Melandri’s teammate, Chaz Davies, trailing in seventh.

World Superbike Jerez Race 1 Results 2013: 
1. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 
2. Marco Melandri (BMW) 
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 
5. Toni Elias (Aprilia) 
6. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) 
7. Chaz Davies (BMW) 
8. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 
9. Xavi Fores (Ducati) 
10. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki) 
11. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki) 
12. Sylvain Barrier (BMW) 
13. Ayrton Badovini (Ducati) 
14. Max Neukirchner (Ducati) 
15. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) 
16. Federico Sandi (Kawasaki) 
17. Michel Fabrizio (Honda) 
18. Broc Parkes (Yamaha)

Race 2

Laverty scored the Race 2 win ahead of Sykes in second and Guintoli in third.

The Irishman was quick off the start once again but Sykes quickly ran ahead of the Aprilia ace for the lead. The Kawasaki rider held steady out front through the first 13 laps but Laverty pushed from behind and by Lap 14 had closed gap enough to open an opportunity to pass. Once out front Laverty maintained his quick pace through to the checkers, finishing 2.7 seconds ahead of Sykes. Guintoli ended his season three seconds later, well ahead of fourth-place finisher Elias.

Melandri opted to sit out of Race 2 as the battle from Race 1 aggravated his injured ankle. The Pata Honda team also faced set-backs as mechanical issues forced Leon Haslam to pull out of competition mid-race. He faced similar problems in Race 1, ending with DNFs for both contests.

Sykes ends the season 23 points ahead of Laverty. Guintoli is an additional 22 points back in third while Melandri finishes fourth.

"In Race 2 it was my intention to do well, even though it would be difficult to top race one as all my energy had kind of gone after the first one," commented Sykes. "I hoped to be closer to the front but I did not expect to win. I think this was just Eugene’s race, although my Ninja ZX-10R was working very well. All things considered I have to be very happy today. World Champion, podium in the races and it has been an absolute pleasure to race with these guys this year. It was good for the championship that it got decided at the final round again, especially at this beautiful circuit, with these great fans. My team is mostly Spanish so it is a home round for them. The championship win has not fully sunk in yet but it will do soon, I’m sure."

World Superbike Jerez Race 2 Results 2013: 
1. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 
3. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 
4. Toni Elias (Aprilia) 
5. Chaz Davies (BMW) 
6. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 
7. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) 
8. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki) 
9. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki) 
10. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) 
11. Max Neukirchner (Ducati) 
12. Broc Parkes (Yamaha) 
13. Sylvain Barrier (BMW) 
14. Michel Fabrizio (Honda) 
15. Federico Sandi (Kawasaki)
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