DONINGTON WSB DRAMA CHAMP BOUNCES BACK
Tom Sykes joined Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies as the only riders to win races so far in 2017 with a historymaking race one win at Donington Park. His victory meant that he had secured nine consecutive wins at the track, eclipsing Carl Fogarty’s longstanding record of eight.
But, unlike the previous four years where he was able to claim victory in race two, Sykes had to yield to his high-flying team-mate Rea, but not without putting up a fight.
Although graceful in defeat, Sykes cited the new-for-2017 reverse grid rules which sees race one’s top three line-up on the third row of the grid for race two as an issue.
He said: “I saw Jonathan go around the outside from his natural starting position and it made his race very easy. There was also an early crash in the last turn. It was very dangerous and that made us all hesitate.”
When asked if it was all to do with the new rules, Sykes knows he cannot completely blame the new regs, but he says they definitely played a part.
“In terms of what the fans came here to see, which was a big, big battle, the reverse grid totally pissed on the bonfire!”
Sykes believes he could have claimed another double had he and Rea started from first and second on the grid like they did in race one.
“As a professional rider I would say, scrap the idea. We have seen too many accidents with other riders trying a bit too hard. They almost get over-excited and try to do something different and with the reverse grid all I have seen is a much bigger mess in the first lap. Jonathan was leading in lap two, so it is not really changing much.”
Sykes says there has not been any great discussion about the new grid procedure recently.
“It is almost none of my business as I turn up and ride a bike but maybe it’s time for a discusssion. Does it change the show? I don’t think so. If anything it destroys the show. In race one it was Jonathan and me. The fight was better but in race two with the reverse grid Jonathan was gone. Which fight was better for you – race one or race two? This answers the question.”
Sykes’s win in race one puts him on a new career total of 32 victories and the weekend saw him reduce the points defecit to his Kawasaki teammate to 55.
“In my best case scenario I was expecting to close 10 points on the leader, but we closed 20,” he said. “We pushed to the maximum and never went over the limit.”
‘The fans came here to see a big, big battle, but the reverse grid totally p***ed on that bonfire!’