REA GIFTS SYKES SEC­OND

Davies’ dom­i­nant dou­ble not enough to se­cure sec­ond from Sykes as Rea lets his team-mate pass

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - GOR­DON RITCHIE IN QATAR WSB RE­PORTER

While the fight for the cham­pi­onship may have been all but over com­ing into Qatar, Chaz Davies’ five wins out of six races meant he had closed in on Tom Sykes for the run­ner-up spot.

How­ever, an­other dom­i­nant dou­ble for the Welsh­man wasn’t enough this week­end af­ter Jonathan Rea con­tro­ver­sially gifted team-mate Sykes sec­ond in Sun­day’s fi­nal race to en­sure a Kawasaki 1-2 in the fi­nal stand­ings.

Davies had ev­ery right to be fu­ri­ous about be­ing rel­e­gated to third, but was al­most re­signed to it say­ing: “I saw it com­ing. I said to ev­ery­body be­fore the race, ‘watch this, watch what is go­ing to hap­pen!’”

With Davies out front, Sykes needed the sec­ond place in the race if he was to re­tain the run­ner-up spot, but team­mate Rea was on fire in the ten lap sprint af­ter the ini­tial start had been red flagged due to a blow up for lo­cal rider Al Su­laiti.

How­ever, de­spite charg­ing through to push Davies hard, Rea re­alised he couldn’t beat the Du­cati and sud­denly slowed down – al­low­ing Sykes to catch up and pass him – even pop­ping wheel­ies out of some cor­ners in the mid­dle of the lap.

Sykes, who was some way back, even­tu­ally passed him over the start fin­ish line to se­cure sec­ond in the stand­ings with Davies un­able to do any­thing, de­spite hav­ing just taken his 11th win of the year.

Rea’s con­tro­ver­sial move comes in spite of the di­vi­sions that have been ev­i­dent in the Kawasaki garage, not just over the last two years, but even prior to his ar­rival in 2015.

Sykes has lost out on two world ti­tles to team/man­u­fac­turer or­ders over the years. In 2012 Aprilia en­sured Max Bi­aggi was given pref­er­en­tial treat­ment to beat Sykes by half a point and then again in 2014 when KRT rider Loris Baz helped the York­shire­man in one race but not the other, mean­ing he’d lose the ti­tle to Baz’s fel­low French­man Syl­vain Guin­toli.

How­ever, Rea’s as­sis­tance in the sec­ond race came with­out any of­fi­cial or­der from the Kawasaki team, leav­ing Sykes with a new-found re­spect for the team-mate he’s strug­gled to get on with over the last two years.

“Of course there was con­ver­sa­tion about it but there was no of­fi­cial or­der

in a writ­ten email to me or a con­tract,” said Rea. “I knew the maths. I am just re­ally grate­ful to Kawasaki for the op­por­tu­nity to ride this bike and they have been at a high level. Tom has been a key player in the de­vel­op­ment of the team and to­day was my time to play the team-mate.”

Sykes for his part, seemed gen­uinely touched that his ri­val would do such a thing as slow down to let him past.

“I was quite speech­less when I saw this last lap,” he said from the podium. “I was quite emo­tional. Johnny and I stopped in turn one and I said to him that ‘this is the first time some­body has helped me like this – thank you very much.’ I have been on the re­ceiv­ing end of some crap in the past, and team or­ders, and have lost ti­tles be­cause of it.”

Davies, who grabbed a heap of points on Sykes af­ter his race one win knew he was likely to be out­num­bered by the men in green go­ing into the fi­nal race, but was un­able to hide his dis­ap­point­ment at how sec­ond place had been de­cided.

Davies said: “To be fair to Tom he put in a good first part of the race and he broke the other guys and re­ally dug in. He has been on the re­ceiv­ing end of cham­pi­onship politics a cou­ple of times so in all hon­esty he de­serves to have the shoe on the other foot at least once. He lost the cham­pi­onship by half a point once be­fore, Johnny gifted him the points that he needed here, so be it. I saw it com­ing a mile off!”

‘ There was no of­fi­cial or­der or con­tract. I just knew the maths’ JONATHAN REA

Rea and Sykes have had a fiery re­la­tion­ship in the past but that was all be­hind them on Sun­day

Sykes has been a vic­tim of team or­ders be­fore but not this time

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.