Tom Sykes says he's delighted to secure his first win of the 2016 World Superbike championship and simultaneously halting his Kawasaki team-mate's flawless start to the season.
The 2013 World Superbike champion became the first rider to beat Rea around the Chang International Circuit, after the defending champion claimed a dominant double in Thailand last year as well as victory in Saturday's race one, with a gritty battle over the closing stages.
Despite suffering with steering issues in the middle third of the second race Sykes resisted Rea's pressure for the majority of the race before fighting back after his team-mate nipped ahead. In a frantic final two laps the Kawasaki pair traded moves for the lead but Sykes got the better of Rea to take victory by just under two-tenths.
“The first win of the year for me and I really had to fight for it,” Sykes said. “I am happy because Jonathan is at an incredible level at this circuit and we have much such a big step from last year so I really have to thank all of the boys. They have worked really hard in the winter and even now we are still learning. It was a great race, a great battle.
“It makes it more satisfying because from about lap six I was struggling with understeer from the front so my corner speed was lower than I wanted. I saw on the big screens at one stage that there were some great riders behind, giving me great pressure, so I had to re-think how to manage the race. To hold on to the win after so-so long is such a great feeling.”
After narrowly losing out to Rea in race one, Sykes has left Thailand with the points deficit remaining at 29 points while he moved up to second, one point ahead of Honda's Michael van der Mark.