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WorldSBK Round 2 Buriram, Thailand | EVENTS

Sykes, Rea and Davies 1-2-3 In Hectic Second Race

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati) finished in that order, all covered by only 0.314 seconds, after a tough fight for the podium places at Buriram in Thailand.

The second race of the overheated Thai WorldSBK weekend saw the two Kawasakis head off to the leading positions once more, with Sykes ahead of his team-mate Rea, and the rest seemingly dropped from leading contention very early in the 20-lap race.


Rea was with Sykes again even before the start of the second half of the race had been reached, with their different set-ups telescoping then contracting the distance between them as each lap unfolded.

Van der Mark was holding off Davies until lap 10, when the Ducati rider made a move to pass.

Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) had a technical problem on lap 11 of 20, and slowed down to eventually stop trackside.

As Sykes and Rea battled after the halfway mark Davies and van der Mark closed in, reducing the gap to less than a second on lap 12.

Nicky Hayden (Honda World Superbike Team) had worked his way up to fifth by just over half way.

Davies was the threat for Sykes and Rea to deal with, van der Mark off the back of the top three by the end of lap 13. Rea took the lead on lap 14. With the top three now riding as one bunch, Rea had a moment and ran wide on turn three very shortly after, allowing both Sykes and Davies through with seven laps remaining.


Rea made his move stick on Davies into the fast left kink of turn four on lap 16, setting after Sykes again.

The top three were covered by only 0.282 seconds with two laps to go.

Pass and re-pass went in on the penultimate lap between the KRT riders and on the final lap Rea looked set to have made it stick twice. He ran wide, however, and let Sykes past in one corner. As the final corner approached Sykes rode hard and defensively as he exited turn 11, making sure Rea would be too far inside the track to make a final attack on he brakes.

Sykes won by 0.190 seconds, with Davies third and just 0.314 seconds from victory. Van der Mark was a clear fourth, 5.199 seconds down, and his Honda team-mate Nicky Hayden fifth, also after a lonely race for much of the 20-laps.


Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) placed sixth, Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team) seventh and Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) eighth.

Lorenzo Savadori (IodaRacing Team Aprilia) scored ninth place for Aprilia, 21 seconds from the lead, and the slowing Davide Giugliano ( Racing – Ducati) put himself tenth on the final lap.

Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was 11th and Josh Brookes (Milwaukee BMW) 16th and just out of the points.

In the championship, after four races and two rounds, Rea leads with a near-perfect 95, Sykes mimics his race number in second place overall with 66 points, van der Mark has 65. Davies is fourth with 55 and Guintoli has 40.

WSBK Race 1 | Rea Wins Close Race From Teammate Sykes

Jonathan Rea (KRT) kept his 100 precent record rolling into the third race of the new season with a close win over his team-mate Tom Sykes after 20-laps at an overheated Buriram circuit in Thailand.

Rea and Sykes swapped the lead, and when Rea ran wide Sykes took the front position until Rea’s lap of 1’33.936 on lap 14 brought him to, and then soon past, Sykes.

Rea looked like he would win running away but Sykes kept his pace behind and when Rea had to change his plan waiting to pass a backmarker Sykes drew himself tantalisingly close on the final lap.



Race 1, Round 2 WSBK winners, Thailand

Over the line Rea won by just 0.222 seconds, with Sykes taking his first podium of the year.

Almost ten seconds back, a lonely final race for Michael van der Mark (Honda World Superbike Team) put him third, keeping up his consistent podium run, but the Superpole qualifier could not match the pace of the KRT runners, especially after running wide at one point.

A fight between team-mates Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati) and Davide Giugliano ( Racing – Ducati) was resolved when the latter ran off line and fell, scoring no points and leaving Davies fourth – but a significant 17.167 seconds from Rea’s winning mark.

Young German charger and WSBK rookie Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team) made a great race for himself in the final analysis taking fifth place and only ending up 1.7 seconds from the factory Ducati of Davies.

Markus Reiterberger

British rider Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) placed sixth, his team-mate Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) one behind and Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) eighth – and over 30 seconds back on a hot day in Thailand.

The IodaRacing Aprilia pairing of Alex De Angelis and Lorenzo Savadori completed the top ten, with Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)

11th and privateer Kawasaki rider Roman Ramos (Team GOELEVEN Kawasaki) 12th.

Nicky Hayden (Honda World Superbike Team) was forced out at half race distance with machine problems.

Cluzel Wins Torrid WSS Race

After a 17-lap race held in high 36°C air temperatures Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was the eventual winner, after a near race long leading stint from PJ Jacobsen (Honda World Supersport Team) got overturned in the final few laps.

A four rider leading bunch, formed by, Jacobsen, Cluzel, Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) contested the podium places, with Sofuoglu being dropped for a time by a pass from his team-mate on lap 12 of 17.

Cluzel passed inside Jacobsen on Turn 3, of lap 14, with Jacobsen back ahead soon after. Sofuoglu made a pass on his teammate in the same lap and pushed on.


A penultimate lap change, as Jacobsen ran wide, allowed Cluzel through, then Sofuoglu passed, and was re-passed.

Another Honda/Kawasaki joust saw Sofuoglu through finally, with Jacobsen third and Krummenacher just fourth.

In fifth place Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) was 3.6 seconds from the win, and privateer Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25 MV Agusta) sixth, eight seconds from Cluzel’s top scoring performance.

Local Thai hero Ratthapong Wilairot (A.P. Honda Racing Thailand) was off on lap three but Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) from Malaysia was a strong seventh, with Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Gino Rea (GRT Racing Team MV Agusta) and Ondrej Jezek (Team GOELEVEN Kawasaki) completing the top ten. Glenn Scott (GEMAR Balloons – Team Lorini Honda) was top Aussie rider in 13th.

In the championship points, Krummenacher still leads, now with 38 points, Jacobsen is second on 27 and no-scorers from the Australian opener, Cluzel and Sofuoglu, are now third and fourth, with 25 and 20 points respectively.

Cluzel and MV Go Top After WSS Superpole

In the Supersport World Championship Superpole contest Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) led the field, with a 1’38.383 lap that held off the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing duo of randy Krummenacher and Kenan Sofuoglu.

Another recent WSS race winner, PJ Jacobsen (Honda World Supersport Team), placed fourth and was the first Honda rider on the grid.

Privateer MV rider Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25 MV Agusta) slotted in fifth place, just ahead of British rider Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), who completed the second row.

Day one fastest rider Ratthapong Wilairot (A.P. Honda Racing Thailand) secured seventh best qualifying time, ahead of a duo of MV privateers – Nico Terol (Schmidt Racing MV Agusta) and Gino Rea (GRT Racing Team MV Agusta).


Luke Stapleford (CIA Landlord Insurance Profile Honda) had a good visit to Chang in Superpole, recording tenth place, with Kevin Wahr (GEMAR Balloons – Team Lorini Honda) and Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) completing the riders who will start from the first four rows.

The 17-lap race will take place on Sunday, with the local Thailand start time scheduled at 14.20.

WSBK Superpole | First Win For Honda Sensation Van Der Mark

Former Stock 600 and WSS Champion Michael van der Mark (Honda World Superbike Team) enjoyed his first Superpole win in Thailand today, shortly before the start of the first race of the weekend.

Resisting the pressure of even the KRT duo of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes, who ended up second and third respectively, van der Mark made the most of being fastest on Friday to make another important step in his career with his first Superpole victory.

Now in his second year of WSBK racing, van der Mark and his team-mate Nicky Hayden have rejuvenated the capabilities of the ageing Honda FireBlade. Hayden was only eighth in Superpole but has been quickest of all in the short third free practice session this morning.

van der Mark

Nicky Hayden

Chaz Davies and his Racing – Ducati team-mate Davide Giugliano were fourth and sixth, with Davies out of sorts at this track that does not suit his Ducati’s relative lack of top end punch.

In fifth place, splitting the Ducatis, was the lead Pata Yamaha of Sylvain Guintoli. His team-mate Alex Lowes slotted in seventh, Hayden one place behind and the first BMW on the grid will start from ninth place, and be ridden by Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team). His team-mate Jordi Torres placed 10th, having also made it into Superpole 2 directly.

Alex Lowes

The final 12 who entered Superpole two included Superpole 1 qualifiers Karel Abraham (Milwaukee BMW) and stand-in for the injured Fabio Menghi, Matteo Baiocco (VFT Racing Ducati).

They would finish up 11th and 12th on the grid, respectively.

Josh Brookes (Milwaukee BMW) was the only BMW rider to not make it into the 12 of Superpole 2 and he will start from 13th place on the grid for Saturday and Sunday’s races.

Leon Camier’s lone MV Agusta Reparto Corse four-cylinder

WorldSBK was 14th after Superpole.

Brookes #25

Van Der Mark The Fastest First Thai Fighter

In the first day of competition, where the first two hours of track time really count for direct Superpole 2 qualification in 2016, relative WSBK youth Michael van der Mark and his middle aged Honda once more showed how much each has come on in the past few months, by leading the combined Friday times.

He did so on a track surface that provided him, and his peers, with a challenge. “I did more than one good lap but like the guys have said it was difficult to be consistent,” said VDM in the cool environs of the Buriram Media Centre. “The track will be improving and everybody has the same problems,” he said of the future track conditions.

“This year I am really happy with the bike and also it shows that we have made some good steps compared to last year,” said ‘Mikey’.


By direct comparison with his 2015 rookie season experiences, he understood just how much. “We struggled so much last year on splits 1 and 2, and this year we were pretty fast. It shows that after so many years you can still improve a bike and after PI everybody expected me to be fast here. I was holding back a bit because everybody can be fast at PI. This is a very different racetrack and this shows that the base set-up we have with the bike is very good now. We improved the bike so much and the best thing about it is that it is stable everywhere in braking and acceleration where we struggled a lot last year. This has improved so much this year.”

Nicky Meets First New 2016 Track

Ex-MotoGP star and new WorldSBK top rider Nicky Hayden (Honda WorldSBK) approached his second WSBK weekend as a full-time rider in Thailand. Unlike first round venue PI, Chang was a whole new track for him. Not the country of Thailand, as he had been there before on PR visits.

“I have been here a couple of times for some other sponsor obligations,” affirmed the 2006 MotoGP champion, who understood clearly why the series had come to race there. “It’s cool because it’s clear that this country is hungry for racing and motorcycles in general. There are scooters everywhere, and not just them, even a lot of bigger bikes. It is nice to see them ready for the race and stuff so it is the first time I have come here to race. I am quite impressed with the facility all the accommodations seem quite a high level.”

Of his machine itself he learned a lot in Australia by taking part in two races, and almost scoring a podium in race two. He identified some areas for improvement but it was mostly from a set-up point of view. “I think it is more things we can change with springs ands adjustment. We don’t really have any different things here. Of course the team has had a chance to work and we have learned a lot from race one to two. I look forward to this weekend because we will find out a little bit more of the reality of what we are in for this year.

“Phillip Island we had the tests before, it is a track I know well, and it is such a flowing track that it can mask a few things. We are going to find out here what we have with acceleration, especially off these slower corners. For me, with this new schedule that is come in, I have to learn a track on Friday and race on Saturday. I am quite excited to see what we get into.”
After his first day on track Hayden was a more than respectable sixth, heading directly into Superpole 2 with a high degree of safety.

Camier Piles In Quickly In Thailand

Despite being a vocal critic of the Chang track surface in some areas, and having exactly the same MV Agusta Reparto Corse F4 he had for the races in Australia, Leon Camier lit up the timesheets in a first session.

He thought he understood even after just one session why the track had such low grip levels in the resurfaced areas.

“There is not a lot of stone in the tarmac so when you look at it, it is just tar down,” said Camier on Friday morning while having a cooling soak in a paddling pool behind his pit garage. “When you go on it, it is so greasy.

“Until you get a bit of rubber down – then it will be getting better. In turn two you cannot enter on the racing line. You are going to the outside of the track, to pretty much the white line, and then turning back across the bad tarmac. Otherwise we cannot enter the corner. It is getting better as the day goes on.”


Camier is still using his PI engine, but has some other mods to help with engine cooling at the overheated Buriram stadium circuit. “My bike is identical to race one in Australia, settings and everything. We put a different radiator on for this track, to try and get some more air and that is working. Last year we were running 40°C too hot around here. Today it was running fine.”

His fastest morning time was potentially down to the nature of the track surface, as his competitors more powerful bikes could not lay down that power until the track conditions started to get better.

“I think it went so well because there is no grip. That makes it a little bit better for our bike. As the sessions go on we will see it change for sure. Our bike was working pretty good straight off the bat. We are lacking a lot of speed but our chassis is working good and we have a good base for the electronics now, to come to the track and dial things in from.”

Camier ended day one in 12th place, still less than a second from the fastest rider, but into Superpole 1, to have to fight to get into Superpole 2.

Torres Strikes Early For BMW

After BMW strengthened its presence in the 2016 championship, thanks to two high quality teams joining with the German manufacturer’s Customer Support Programme, the first round was quite a tough one.

The first day of round two started that way too, especially for Althea Racing BMW rider Jordi Torres. A faller at turn one he found the contrasts between the existing reasonably grippy tarmac and the resurfaced slippery parts difficult in the early stages.

“On some pieces of the track, the new pieces, it is very difficult,” he affirmed. “It is the same for everybody. I do not know what happened but it is dangerous. The rest of the track is normal. In turn 2 the patched part is all on the inside. You need to make the corner and lean over without touching this part.”

A fall was the last thing he needed early in the weekend, as he lost some confidence on a bike his still trying to work out.

“I think that the bike is good, a good base but we need to improve because it is very hard to ride and hard to ‘touch’ the feeling. This is the most difficult thing – to understand the feeling that the bike gives me. I know that the bike is safe and has a lot of power but we need to work a lot with the electronic devices because the electronics is the top (priority) and then we can make the cycle parts. In two races in Australia I found a lot of feeling because these were the most long runs that I had made!”


After his difficult morning he turned things around in some regards at least, nailing the throttle hard to nail a third best lap time – a high water mark for BMW so far. “I regained a lot of confidence after my crash this morning, but I stayed 12th, 14th for a long time – and then I needed to cover my eyes, full throttle, and do the lap!”

The track was still challenging for Torres despite his relatively fast qualifying lap time. “The (regular) lap times are up and down, for everybody, because of these two strange pieces of the track,” said Torres from the post race interview room.

“It is difficult to take a good line, or to stay concentrated; focused. One time you need to push up the bike to not take the apex well, but then the next corner you can brake later and push hard. It is difficult to keep concentration.”

WorldSBK Championship Standings