TEAM GREEN SEE
WSB HEATS UP No love lost as Rea and Sykes put it all on the line in Thailand
The 2016 World Superbike season burst into life during race two in Thailand with an intense and controversial battle between Kawasaki teammates Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea.
Having won race one by 0.222s on Saturday, Rea wanted more of the same, but Sykes was prepared to put it all on the line to stop his team-mate’s relentless winning streak.
Sykes literally muscled his way to his first victory of the year with some big blocking moves and counter attacks on the chasing Rea. You could have mistaken the intensity on show for the title-deciding race at the end of the year, but instead it was a case of Sykes, the 2013 world champion simply deciding that enough was enough.
Reigning champion Rea overtook several times only for Sykes to fight his way back past again with moves that sometimes skated to the limit of what is accepted between team-mates.
People have criticised Sykes in the past for having no fight at the end of races, but the second race in Thailand completely dispelled that theory.
“My corner speed was so low, so I had to really think what I could do to keep the competition behind,” said Sykes.
With a double 1-2, after Rea won the first race from Sykes on Saturday, Kawasaki can be satisfied with their weekend’s work and their new bike’s supremacy, but even as he was praising Sykes for his win, Rea was unimpressed with his team-mate’s moves.
“From 10 laps to go I had a much higher pace than Tom but it seemed every opportunity I had to pass was blocked or swerved at. He did a really good job at staying in front. I put myself out of the line twice. On the last lap I tried to make it stick but I knew that he was going to switch back in T5. He went too deep and unfortunately I gave him enough space to come through. Today we got beat and we accept that, so fair play to Tom.”
Even through his praise of his teammate’s riding abilities, it was his tactics that Rea could not help but react to when prodded.
“Honestly, the pace he set yesterday and in the beginning of this race was fast. I am sure it was a nice show to watch. It’s just a little bit scary when you’re doing 170mph and a 165kg bike is swerving in your way, but that’s racing. Like I’ve said over and over, I did not want to take any credit away because he did a great job.”
When asked directly if he would have used the same tactics as Sykes, had he been in an identical position, Rea stated: “It depends, there is a line. They created a rule in F1. You have seen the controversy over Rossi/marquez