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Sykes closes in but can’t take full advantage
10 September 2012
Despite finishing off the podium at the Nurburgring, Tom Sykes has nonetheless improved his World Superbike Championship chances after picking up a pair of top five results.
An upturn in race form in recent rounds has allowed Sykes to assume outside title contender status as the conclusion of the season looms, though he came into the German event facing a fairly substantial 41 point deficit to Marco Melandri in the standings.
Nonetheless, Sykes signalled his intentions early in both races as he pushed into the lead, but severe tyre problems on the Kawasaki would drop him down the order in the latter stages on each occasion.
Crossing the line fourth in race one and fifth in race two, the results signalled some frustration for Sykes since he wasn't able to fully capitalise on the accidents that would befall rivals Max Biaggi and Melandri.
Even so, the two solid finishes means Sykes still leave Germany better placed than when he started having reduced the margin to new leader Biaggi to 26.5 points with four races remaining.
“There is a question mark over race one because we used the same kind of tyre that we had used all weekend, the softer of the rear tyre selections, and we have done race distance on two of these tyres. On each occasion we have been able to do 1'55 laps at the end of the simulated race. So it is very strange.
“We did 1'55s very comfortably at the beginning of the race then we had a massive drop in tyre performance. It was rear chatter but more like bouncing today and that is something we have never experienced with this bike, let alone this weekend.
“We made a tyre choice change and went to the 'B' rear, which we were not keen to do. Things could have been much better. Some other riders had a worse day than us so I am quite happy to take good points in each race. A difficult day but we pulled points ultimately we cut the championship lead a bit. We will keep working hard for more good finishes.”
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