Sykes roars to Russian success

By Tony Sollis 28/08 Updated: 28/08 14:06

JUST 24 hours after securing his long-term future, Leamington's Tom Sykes made it a double celebration with two podium finishes in round 11 of the World Superbike Championship in Moscow.

But, with three rounds still to come, the Kawasaki Racing Team rider is vowing to keep the festivities flowing all the way to the end.

The 27-year-old wrote his name into the history books in race one as he, despite unusually not starting on pole, led for the majority to cross the finish line first by over eight seconds to win the first ever World Superbike race in Russia.

And it was another first for Sykes himself as, although this was his second victory of the season, it was his first maximum 25-point haul with his earlier win at Monza only handing him 12.5 points due to an early stoppage.

But Sykes was not finished there, going on to lead race two for 14 laps only to end up second to new championship leader Marco Melandri by just 0.9756 seconds.

However, despite the agonising finish to end his Russian adventure, Sykes was still left beaming with his weekend's work.

"This race win was better than the Monza one as we got a little bit more of a reward in points terms," he said.

"I did a lot of work on tyres the day before and we went a slightly different way from most people in race one. We worked a lot on this and that work paid off.

"The bike felt great. I had a little bit of pressure on at half race distance but I was trying to save the tyre a little bit. When the gap got down to three seconds I pushed on a little more and it seemed to work.

"To lead start to finish and take the win over full race distance is very rewarding. We had a good margin at the end and it was a nice race. Overall we should be very satisfied.

"Race one was great with maximum points and race two gave us another 20 points in the bag. I got a little bit carried away battling with Eugene behind me in race two and in trying to save my tyre I did not read the pit signals."

Sykes was buoyed heading into Sunday's races following the news a day earlier that he re-signed with the Kawasaki Racing Team, having joined in 2010, for next season - a deal that includes an option for a further two years.

And with his Russian results meaning he now sits third in the overall standings, 22.5 points behind Max Biaggi and 41 behind Melandri at the summit, Sykes is convinced that there could yet be more champagne corks popping before the season is over, with his sights set on top spot.

"I felt I had a good package and could have won both races, but when you are riding with guys of Marco's standard you cannot leave things to the last minute," he added.

"But, realistically, we are happy. A first and second, still third overall and the gap at the front tightening up.

"There are still a lot of points to play for so we will keep pushing for the final three rounds, that's for sure."

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