Rizla Suzuki's Tom Sykes started from 17th and sensationally fought his way to third by the chequered flag in the second race of the 11th round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Silverstone in Northamptonshire yesterday.
In warm dry conditions Sykes cut through the pack of riders in front of him like a knife through hot butter and moved into third place with just a handful of laps remaining. He was too far behind the top two to challenge but kept his cool to score a well-deserved rostrum whereas team mate Atsushi Watanabe did not finish.
The race was won by Honda's Leon Haslam.
In the opening race Sykes got a typical excellent start from fifth and slotted into third place, menacing the riders in front of him. On the third lap it all came to an early end after an ambitious over-take for second place ended with him clashing with race leader Haslam with both crashing unhurt. Sykes went on to finish 13th after remounting but was later disqualified and penalised 12-places on the grid for the second race after a judicial decision from the organisers. Watanabe, starting from 17th, finished an encouraging 10th.
Ducati's Shane Byrne finished third in the opening race to seal his second British Superbike Championship.
Rizla Suzuki is in action again in two week's time at the final round of the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent.
"I am really happy to have delivered another podium to Rizla Suzuki. Race two was never going to be easy starting from 17th but I was determined to come through. It was a little too much to give away to go for the win but the podium is a just reward for the team.
"In the first race I wanted to go for the win and on lap three I made a pass which didn't work out. I was forced wide and hit Leon Haslam. The organisers penalised me. I won't be dwelling on it and I am looking forward to the last round and seeing if I can get second in the Championship for Rizla Suzuki."
"Race one was OK, I had a decent result with 10th place. I have some good feel for my Rizla Suzuki and like the Silverstone circuit as it is like Japanese tracks.
"Race two was not so good: My brakes feel inconsistent and after lap 12, I think maybe I should pull in to the pits. I am not happy but will be doing my best to end the season with good results at Brands Hatch."
Jack Valentine - Rizla Suzuki Team Manager:
"For Tom to make up 14 places from his start position in race two is simply incredible; there are not many riders capable of doing that. It would have been great to see; how he could have fared if he had started from his normal grid position as I am sure he would have diced with Leon Haslam for the victory.
"Race one for Tom was a disappointment. It was early on when he collided with Leon and that effectively ended his chance for success. The penalty imposed by the Clerk of the Course was difficult to argue against and Tom took it on the chin, which is credit to him.
"We had high hopes for Atsu this weekend but the results did not come for him. He has another chance at Brands Hatch to show what he is made off in two week's time."We are looking forward to the final round and hopefully we can challenge Leon for second in the Championship. On behalf of Rizla Suzuki I would like to congratulate Shane Byrne on taking the Championship today - he's a worthy winner."
Race one result:1: Leon Camier (Ducati) 29:02.8062: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +1.0903: Shane Byrne (Ducati) +8.9044: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +18.8895: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +27.7396: Gary Mason (Honda) +31.3637: Tristan Palmer (Honda) +32.0688: Jason O'Halloran (Honda) +32.2049: Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) +34.52410: Atsushi Watanabe (Rizla Suzuki) +37.884DSQ: Tom Sykes (Rizla Suzuki)
Race two result:1: Leon Haslam (Honda) 28:59.1062: Shane Byrne (Ducati) +3.7863: Tom Sykes (Rizla Suzuki) +5.4554: Leon Camier (Ducati) +5.8095: Karl Harris (Yamaha) +7.1716: James Ellison (Honda) +16.0617: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +17.0978: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +24.9019: Gary Mason (Honda) +26.10910: Billy McConnell (Kawasaki) +30.736DNF: Atsushi Watanabe (Rizla Suzuki)
Championship Standings (after round 11 of 12):1: Shane Byrne 4242: Leon Haslam 3233: Tom Sykes (Rizla Suzuki) 3064: Cal Crutchlow 2855: Leon Camier 2796: Michael Rutter 2377: James Ellison 2038: Simon Andrews 1599: Michael Laverty 14010: Karl Harris 10215: Atsushi Watanabe (Rizla Suzuki) 64