TEAM GREEN SEE

WSB HEATS UP No love lost as Rea and Sykes put it all on the line in Thai­land

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - AT BURI­RAM, THAI­LAND WSB REPORTER

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

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