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Sykes wins halted race, half-points given
6 May 2012 CLICK HERE
to view WSBK race two results.
Tom Sykes has won his first World Superbike Championship race of the season at Monza, but he will receive just half points for his efforts after the race was halted at the midway point.
The Kawasaki rider was cruising to a dominant victory during the second Monza race as he put seconds per lap over the competition, but the arrival of rain after eight of the 16 laps would force organisers to deploy red flags and call the result.
A frustrating end to a chaotic day at Monza following the cancellation of the first race on safety grounds, there were fears the second race wouldn't get underway either as riders returned from the warm-up feeling dissatisfied with the dry, albeit patchy, conditions.
After around 15mins of discussion, the race did eventually get underway, but without pole sitter Sylvain Guintoli who, along with Michel Fabrizio, would suffer cruel technical issues on the new warm-up lap to prevent them from starting.
Inheriting an effective pole position, Sykes stormed into the lead at the first turn and proceeded to scythe away from the opposition, the Briton's margin growing by a second with every lap to leave the competition floundering in his wake.
However, with dark clouds looming overhead and threatening to deposit their contents on the Monza circuit, the inevitable eventually occurred on lap eight, organisers immediately drawing the red flags to prevent any incident.
Coming after race one was cancelled due to the riders' concerns over the sodden track surface and the quality of the wet Pirelli tyre around the high-speed circuit, just 8 laps and 14mins of Superbike racing would take place on the weekend the series celebrates its 25th Anniversary.
With not enough of the race completed to award full points, Sykes instead only receives 12.5 points, rather than a full 25 points. Although it remains an impressive result for a rejuvenated Kawasaki, Sykes will rue the fact that he would have possibly stood to take the championship lead had the race gone full distance.
Behind him, the battle for second place piqued the interest of the restless crowds as their heroes Max Biaggi and Marco Melandri diced with their respective Eugene Laverty and Leon Haslam team-mates.
In the end, the 'away' riders would triumph over the local favourites, Haslam giving a hint as to what could have been as he grabbed an excellent second place finish – his best yet for BMW – from 13th on the grid.
Laverty, a double winner at Monza last season, also had the honour of beating his team-mate to claim his second consecutive podium finish of the season, while Melandri and Biaggi followed up in fourth and fifth.
Jonathan Rea was also embroiled in the podium fight but would be forced to settle for sixth, ahead of Carlos Checa, who will at least be satisfied to see honours fairly even at the end of what he was expecting to be a far more difficult weekend.
Davide Giugliano and Jakub Smrz followed up on their Ducatis in eighth and ninth, while Ayrton Badovini rounded out the top ten.
Further back, Hiroshi Aoyama, Chaz Davies, Maxime Berger, Lorenzo Zanetti and Leon Camier rounded out the points' paying positions.
In all, just 17 riders started the second race, with six riders missing the start, including the unlucky Guintoli and Fabrizio, while David Salom, Mark Aitchison, Sergio Gadea and John Hopkins were also unable to start due to their race one incidents. Indeed, Hopkins is believed to have fared particularly badly in his Parabolica fall, the American reported to have broken his foot.