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WSBK 2013: Jerez Race Report

Mon, 21 Oct 2013

Eugene Laverty did everything he could, scoring a pair of race wins but it was not enough as Tom Sykes rode smartly and conservatively at the season finale in Spain, securing his first ever World Superbike Championship.

Sykes landed in Jerez with a 37-point lead over Laverty and a 38-point lead over Sylvain Guintoli. While Laverty battled Marco Melandri to win Race One, Sykes coasted comfortably in third for most of the race to score 16 points, enough to clinch the title.

That also gave Kawasaki its first WSBK championship since Scott Russell did the trick in 1993. Sykes finished the year with nine wins and 18 podiums, and set a new record with eight pole positions.

Laverty’s two wins also gave him nine on the year, but he failed to score points in five races compared to just three for Sykes. Nevertheless, Laverty’s efforts, along with those of teammate Guintoli, helped contribute to Aprilia capturing the manufacturer’s title.

Race One Highlights

Laverty took the holeshot from pole position to grab the early lead in Race One with Sykes, starting in the two-spot, behind him and BMW‘s Melandri next in third. Sykes soon after wisely allowed Melandri through, knowing he only needed to finish fourth or higher to claim the title.

Melandri tracked Laverty for most of the 21-lap race before finally passing through on the second-last lap. Laverty was able to regain the lead on the final lap, holding on to win by  0.218 seconds.

Sykes coasted comfortably to finish third and capture the title, 2.7 seconds ahead of Guintoli.

2013 WSBK: Jerez Race One Top Five Results

Pos. Rider Motorcycle Gap 1 Eugene Laverty Aprilia RSV4 Factory - 2 Marco Melandri BMW S1000RR +0.218 3 Tom Sykes Kawasaki ZX-10R +6.681 4 Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia RSV4 Factory +9.327 5 Toni Elias Aprilia RSV4 Factory +20.446 Race Two Highlights

After securing the title in Race One, few would have blamed Sykes for resting on his laurels. Instead, the newly-crowned 2014 WSBK Champion jumped out in front in Race Two, leading the first 13 laps before Guintoli moved into the lead.

Only then did Sykes ease up, finishing second behnd Guintoli by 2.711 seconds. Guintoli, who led the championship race for much of the first half of the season, finished third to complete the podium.

In other notable news, Melandri sat out the second race to rest an injured ankle. That left his teammate Chaz Davies and Sylvain Barrier on the S1000RR for BMW’s last race before exiting the WSBK series. Davies finished a credible fifth place and Barrier, who was being rewarded with a WSBK ride at Jerez for winning the 2013 Superstock Championship, finished 13th.

2013 WSBK: Jerez Race Two Top Five Results

Pos. Rider Motorcycle Gap 1 Eugene Laverty Aprilia RSV4 Factory - 2 Tom Sykes Kawasaki ZX-10R +2.711 3 Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia RSV4 Factory +5.710 4 Toni Elias Aprilia RSV4 Factory +15.509 5 Chaz Davies BMW S1000RR +21.830

“Words cannot describe how I feel. I am very level headed but since Magny-Cours there are moments where my mind started dreaming,” Sykes said after Race Two. “When I was dreaming I had goose bumps and it was magical to even dream I could be world champion. But that was maybe 2% of what I am feeling now after winning the title. It was good for the championship that it got decided at the final round again, especially here with these great fans. My team is mostly Spanish so it is a home round for them. The championship win has not fully sunk in yet but it will do soon, I’m sure.”

2013 WSBK Championship Final Top Five Standings

Pos. Rider Team Points 1 Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing 447 2 Eugene Laverty Aprilia Racing 424 3 Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia Racing 402 4 Marco Melandri BMW Motorrad Goldbet 359 5 Chaz Davies BMW Motorrad Goldbet 290 6 Davide Giugliano Althea Aprilia 211 7 Michel Fabrizio Red Devils Roma Aprilia 188 8 Loris Baz Kawasaki Racing 180 9 Jonathan Rea Pata Honda 176 10 Jules Cluzel FIXI Crescent Suzuki 175

[Source: WSBK]

By Dennis Chung

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