WSBK Misano: Sykes defies injury for Misano win

Tom Sykes displays few ill-effects from his hand injury to claim a comprehensive fifth WSBK win of the season at Misano, ahead of Baz.
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  • Sykes powers to his fifth WSBK win of the 2014 season at Misano to extend his championship lead
  • Baz claims his sixth second place finish to complete a Kawasaki 1-2
  • Melandri completes the podium ahead of Chaz Davies

Tom Sykes has extended his lead at the top of the World Superbike Championship standings as he belied his hand injury to claim a dominant race one victory in Misano.

Starting on pole position after a record-breaking lap in qualifying, Sykes led from the end of the opening lap before steadily managing an advantage back to team-mate Loris Baz as the factory Kawasaki riders proved a class above their rivals in race conditions.

A sweet result for Sykes around a circuit where he has started from pole position on three occasions but never even stood on the podium, though he was edged for the hole-shot by Toni Elias getting a super getaway from the second row, it was the ZX-10R that was in front before the lap was out.

With Baz quickly dispatching of Elias for second place at the start of the second lap, the two Kawasaki riders proceeded to move away from the competition as the chasing pack tripped over one another in the busy opening laps.

Reeling off a series of lap records to keep Baz at arm's length, it nonetheless remained to be seen whether Sykes could sustain his pace over a full 21 laps as he contends with the hand injury picked up in his collision with Baz at Sepang.

As it happens, Sykes would show few ill-effects from his ailment, rebuffing a brief mid-race challenge by Baz to pull away definitively during the second-half all the way to the chequered flag.

Winning by more than five seconds, Sykes's fifth win of the season goes a long way to mending the damage caused by his costly DNF in Malaysia, the defending champion rebuilding his advantage at the head of the standings to 27 points as main rival Sylvain Guintoli ailed to fifth.

A somewhat lacklustre race for all but Kawasaki, Marco Melandri completed the podium for Aprilia after losing touch with the leaders following an error on the opening lap that left him as low as eighth at one stage.

Clawing his way back to third by lap three, Melandri couldn't go with the front runners and was instead forced to resist a late push by Chaz Davies on the Ducati as the Welshman came through from seventh on the grid, the pair crossing the line third and fourth respectively.

Guintoli, meanwhile, ran third initially but had no answer to Melandri and Davies when they came through as he slipped back to a lonely fifth place, while early leader Elias completed the top six after settling down from a wild opening few laps that saw him off the track more than once.

Just as they had in practice and qualifying, Honda and Suzuki found themselves adrift of the leading pack from start-to-finish, though Jonathan Rea put in a dogged performance to finish in seventh, passing a clearly struggling Davide Giugliano on the Ducati late one, the Italian fading down to eighth place having started on the front row.

Eugene Laverty flew the flag for Suzuki in ninth after his team-mate Alex Lowes crashed out ahead of him mid-way through the race, while Leon Haslam completed the top ten on the second of the PATA Hondas.

Just outside the top ten, David Salom completed KRT's perfect race by claiming the EVO spoils once again in 11th overall, the Spaniard's impressive race pace seeing him out-perform qualifying standout Niccolo Canepa and increase his lead in the sub-category.

Claudio Corti picked up useful points for MV Agusta in 13th, while Ivan Goi and WSBK returnee Sylvain Barrier notched up their first WSBK points in 14th and 15th.
by Ollie Barstow

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