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WSBK Assen: Sykes cruises to dominant Assen win
28 April 2013 CLICK HERE
to view WSBK Race 1 Results.
Tom Sykes has given his 2013 World Superbike Championship title hopes a significant boost with an utterly dominant performance during the first race at Assen.
Starting from his 13th career pole position, Sykes briefly ceded the lead to Jonathan Rea at the opening bend, but after quickly retaking the position at turn two, he was never challenged thereafter.
Quickly extending his lead over the opposition, Sykes would lap consistently faster than the opposition as he multiplied his lead, even becoming the first-ever rider to go under 1min 36secs in a race environment aboard a Superbike.
A sixth career WSBK victory for Sykes, though only the third time he has won from pole position, the result gives his title aspirations a significant boost following a frustrating start to the year.
With Sykes galloping away out front, the fight for second place would instead consume attention, with Jonathan Rea, Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty all taking turns at running in the position.
Rea would initially hold second over the first portion of the race only for Laverty to move through on lap eight, before Guintoli would get the better of both of them by lap fifteen.
Undeterred, Rea fought back to pass both Laverty and Guintoli to run second with three laps remaining, before Guintoli reassumed the position at the beginning of the final revolution.
Nonetheless, having already pulled off two impressive passes at the high-speed Hoge Heide kink during the race, Rea would save his best until last, scything past Guintoli with two corners to go and holding firm to the chequered flag for his and Honda's first podium of the year.
Despite missing out on second, third place Guintoli maintains his 100 per cent podium record, in doing so extending his lead in the overall standings to 29 points.
Behind him, Eugene Laverty would cross the line in fourth place, while Loris Baz recovered from a poor start to catch, pass and hold off Davide Giugliano for fifth position.
Elsewhere, BMW endured a torrid race, with Marco Melandri failing to make the grid after suffering technical problems on the warm-up lap. His team-mate Chaz Davies, meanwhile, compromised himself after a crash in morning warm-up left the BMW squad rushing to repair his bike.
Though they would get him back out for the race, it was too late for him to make the sighting lap, meaning he would be forced to start from the tail end of the grid. Despite this, an aggressive opening few laps would see Davies salvage seventh position, retaining his second place in the overall standings.
That placed him ahead of Jules Cluzel and the heroic Leon Camier, the who not only defied odds to complete the 22 lap race – having managed only four consecutive laps over the weekend before his injured knee began to hurt -, but he would lift himself up from 17th on the grid to finish ninth, even pulling a fine pass on Carlos Checa in the process.
Outside the top ten, Max Neukirchner got the better of Michel Fabrizio to finish 11th, with Ayrton Badovini – another rider carrying injuries – Ivan Clementi and Mark Aitchison completing the points' paying positions in 13th, 14th and 15th.