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Sykes battles through the pain barrier at Thruxton

Author: Rizla Suzuki Press Release
Posted on: Sunday, Apr 20 2008



The gritty Huddersfield rider severely bruised his left thumb in a qualifying crash yesterday and had to ride through the pain barrier in race one, coming home in a strong sixth place after starting from 12th on grid. In the second race he clashed with Leon Haslam (Honda) while running in fourth place. This caused a red flag as bike debris was removed from the track. He made the restart and after leading early on he eventually finished eighth.


Rizla Suzukis two times Japanese Superbike Champion, Atsushi Watanabe finished race one in 17th and race two in 14th. This was his first ever race in the UK and proved a steep learning curve as he got to grips with the 2.4 mile Thruxton circuit and the riding styles of his fellow competitors.


Race one was won by Shane Byrne (Ducati) and race two by Cal Crutchlow (Honda). The third round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship takes place at Oulton Park on the 3rd 5th May.


Tom Sykes:

In race two I got a superb start from the third row of the grid and was up to fourth place. The bike felt really good as we had made some changes from race one. Unfortunately Leon Haslam changed his line in front of me and I had no where to go and ended up crashing heavily. I was a little battered and bruised but otherwise OK so I got out in the restarted race on my spare bike and started from the front row.


I got the hole-shot and thought I could settle in but struggled for rear grip and the tyre started delaminating. The vibration got too bad so I dropped off the pace and just nursed it home for the points. Im really gutted for my team as they worked hard this weekend and we didnt get the result we had hoped for.


Atsushi Watanabe:

For me this is very bad result, my lap times improve but Im not happy with 17th and 14th, he said. My team is working well and Im very happy with that. It was good to race I now understand BSB race and riders.


Jack Valentine Rizla Suzuki Team Manager:

The changes we made to Toms number two bike following race one made a big difference. Its a shame about the incident with Haslam as I think we would have been on for a strong result. On the restart we stayed with the same rear tyre, Tom got the hole-shot and was having a really good ride. Sadly his rear tyre went off and he dropped down the order. We were hoping for a fourth or fifth place finish but it was so bad he slipped to eighth. We will re-group and fight back at the next round.


As for Atsushi I think he did fantastic, Valentine continued. He gets faster every time he goes out on track. It is not until you are racing that you really learn the tracks and conditions. He is doing as well as we had hoped and his best lap times would put him within the top ten easily.



Race 1 Results


1: Shane Byrne (Ducati) 25:33.903

2: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +2.306

3: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +3.573

4: Leon Haslam (Honda) +10.949

5: Leon Camier (Ducati) +18.745

6: TOM SYKES (RIZLA SUZUKI) +19.048

7: James Ellison (Honda) +19.406

8: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +22.403

9: Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) +22.709

10: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) +23.902

17: ATSUSHI WATANABE (RIZLA SUZUKI) +45.964


Race 2 Results


1: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 19:05.302

2: Shane Byrne (Ducati) +1.807

3: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +2.136

4: Leon Camier (Ducati) +7.942

5: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) +11.863

6: Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) +12.461

7: James Ellison (Honda) +13.632

8: TOM SYKES (RIZLA SUZUKI) +18.759

9: Guy Martin (Honda) +23.395

10: Billy McConnell (Kawasaki) 23.899

14:ATSUSHI WATANABE (RIZLA SUZUKI) +25.146


Championship Standings


1: Shane Byrne (Ducati ) 45

2: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 45

3: Michael Rutter (Ducati) 32

4: Leon Camier (Ducati) 24

5: TOM SYKES (RIZLA SUZUKI) 18

6: James Ellison (Honda) 18

7: Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) 17

8: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 17

9: Leon Haslam (Honda) 13

10: John Laverty (Ducati) 9

17: ATSUSHI WATANABE (RIZLA SUZUKI) 2


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