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WSBK Monza: Sykes strengthens title challenge with podium
12 May 2013
Though it wasn't quite the repeat of his race win from 2012, Tom Sykes says he can come away from the fourth round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship at Monza feeling satisfied following two hard fought races.
Fresh from his victory last time out at Assen, Sykes would notch up a new circuit record on the way to his third pole position of the season, before also breaking the race lap record during the first encounter despite giving away top speed to the Aprilias and Marco Melandri's BMW.
Leading the race briefly on lap 15, Sykes came into the final lap in third position with a view to making his decisive move on the final corner.
It would prove a partially successful endeavour, Sykes getting the better of Laverty, but falling just a tenth shy of getting in front of Melandri to win. Despite this, Sykes was delighted to claim a second place finish against such tough rivals.
“I put it all out there for everybody to see [today]. I could not give any more. Race one was a great race, a great battle although I was like a sitting duck at the back for a time. I was waiting to see where those guys were strong, and they have some speed, so I used that to my advantage and it led to a very exciting last lap. I tried to lead after lap 15 and pull a gap but it was not to be, because they reeled me straight back in.
“The last lap was great, it was almost a third to first run from the last corner, but I did not want to do anything stupid, so to have the Kawasaki working like that here makes me very motivated.
Sykes's run to third would prove somewhat more controversial after his last lap pass on Sylvain Guintoli was deemed unfair, last year's WSBK runner-up having run on at the chicane moments after passing the Frenchman.
However, while a protest by Aprilia would see Sykes demoted to fourth after the race, a reversal of decision by the FIM would subsequently lift him back to third place several hours after the event.
Regardless, Sykes was pleased to pick up several landmarks on such a 'challenging' circuit, his second and third place results putting him third overall, 18 points behind Guintoli.
“Monza was going to be one of the most challenging circuits we would visit this season but we have come away with pole position, a new circuit record, a lap record and two podiums, so I am happy!”