Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes finished second and fourth respectively after the second 18-lap WorldSBK race at Motorland Aragon. Rea was in the hunt for a win right until the final corners, despite suffering from the effects of a head and chest cold. Sykes, still fighting off an infection, ended up in a lonely ride to fourth after starting the race from the third row, like his team-mate Rea.
For the first time in 2017 the combination of the Ninja ZX-10RR and Jonathan Rea did not win a WorldSBK race but they came within 0.483 seconds of making it six in a row, after a thrilling fight with eventual winner Chaz Davies.
Under the new rules that govern the starting positions for race two, race one podium finishers Rea and Sykes went back to the third row today. Rea was nonetheless in the lead by lap four and held that position until Davies passed on lap 13.
From then on Rea only had to win a short-lived battle with eventual third place rider Marco Melandri before attacking Davies again on the final lap, passing but running wide as Davies held a better line heading onto the back straight.
For Sykes, a fever meant he had nothing to eat since Saturday. Even though he started well and made up places from seventh to fourth on lap one, he was unable to go with the leading group of five that developed shortly afterwards, a group which was whittled down to just two at the end.
In the championship Rea has 145 points, just five from a perfect score, Davies has 95 and Sykes 91 after three rounds and six races.
Now the KRT squad will go testing on Monday 3rd April at Motorland, as part of the organisers’ official test programme. The next round will take place at Assen in the Netherlands, with racedays on Saturday April 29th and Sunday April 30th.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I got to the front quite early but I could not make a break because it was so windy on the straight that the group stayed together. When Chaz came past he had a little bit more pace and I upped my own pace to try and go with him. He made a few mistakes but none that meant I could really go through clean on him and make it stick. On the last lap I just fought – fought for a win. I tried in a few places but it did not work out in the end. We can’t complain too much because on one side of the circuit we were really strong. Congratulations to Chaz because to come back from a big crash yesterday and win today was really impressive. I am really happy with the way I rode today and I got 45 points this weekend, even though I was not feeling my best. But the bike was working really well so I am looking forward to rolling to Assen now.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I thought I would feel better today but I am worse in my physical condition than yesterday because I have not eaten anything. We got close to the front but I am just not comfortable on the bike in windy conditions. It looks like we are sensitive on the front set-up anyway, but the wind was terrible today! And for whatever reason I am not able to keep a nice constant load on the front, which is something to consider for testing tomorrow. I just wasn’t able to keep the pace of the leaders here. We finished third and fourth on a tough weekend, and this has been the first time in a long time I have been sick on a race weekend. I have not been working at full capacity and, on the bike, you can feel how your mind does not even run at the same speed as normal. It has been a very surreal and strange feeling this weekend. I gave everything I had but I am obviously not running at full capacity.”