Tom Sykes delivers first Kawasaki WSB victory for 5 years. Poultry Magnate - Paul Bird (really!) who runs the Kawasaki WSB team was told both his team and Tom Sykes would not be contracted for 2012 earlier that morning....
World Superbike Championship - Round 10 - Nurburgring, Germany - Sunday 4th September
Bitter Sweet Victory For Sykes In Germany
Yorkshireman Tom Sykes celebrated his first World Championship win with a sensational performance in treacherous conditions as he splashed to victory at round ten of the World Superbike Championship at a rain-soaked Nurburgring in Germany today.
Having learned earlier in the day that his services would not be required by the factory next year as the Paul Bird-run Kawasaki Superbike Racing Team will not have their contract renewed either, Sykes had to overcome the disappointment also of finishing 11th in the day's earlier race held in dry conditions in which Spanish team-mate Joan Lascorz finished in seventh position.
But it was in the day's second race that Sykes turned in a career-best performance when he held second place for much of the race behind leader Noriyuki Haga as he battled with Sylvain Guintoli and Jonathan Rea for the podium slots. Haga slid off on lap 12 and two laps later, out came the red flag as conditions deteriorated leaving Sykes to claim a fantastic first WSB victory.
The win marked the first victory for Kawasaki since Chris Walker's epic victory back in similar conditions at Assen in 2006 and made it three World Championship successes for the Penrith-based team, adding to Shane Byrne's wild card double at Brands Hatch in 2003 aboard the MonsterMob Ducati.
The result sees Sykes up to 11th place in the World Championship standings, two places ahead of Lascorz who claimed an 11th place finish in race two to make it a successful weekend for the British team.
Earlier in the day, Ulsterman Keith Farmer made his foreign debut at the German round of the World Superbike Championship aboard the Paul Bird Motorsport-prepared Kawasaki ZX-10R in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup but was knocked off on the opening lap without injury.
Tom Sykes: "What a day! My ankle injury from Silverstone was troubling me in the first race and I'll be totally honest and say it affected my performance as the race went on. In race two, conditions were diabolical and it was a battle to stay upright but I kept things smooth and just kept my concentration. In the end it was the right decision to stop the race and I'm delighted to take my first World Superbike Championship victory and to reward the team for all their hard work."
Joan Lascorz: "Firstly, my congratulations go to Tom for a wonderful victory in very difficult conditions and it was what the team deserved. For me, I had a good race in the dry to finish in seventh but I struggled in the wet conditions but I'm happy to score more points and look forward to the next race at Imola."
Paul Bird, Team Owner: "Having learned this morning that we wouldn't be running the Kawasaki team next year was a massive blow and the team responded magnificently with our strongest performance of the season. As well as us, Tom was told his services would not be required next season so what better way of proving a point than giving the factory its first victory in five years but you have to say they make some great decisions don't they? Getting sacked proved to be a lucky omen for us and I'm delighted for Tom and the team as they have been through the mill at times with this project. It's a shame we can't see it through given all our hard work but as one door closes, another one opens and we look forward to the challenges ahead should we decide to carry on."
Results - Race One1, C Checa (Althea Racing)2, M Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team)3, N Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia)4, E Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team)5, L Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport)6, S Guintoli (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing)7, J Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team)8, L Camier (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team)9, A Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team)10, J Rea (Castrol Honda)11, T Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team)
Results - Race Two1, T Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team)2, S Guintoli (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing)3, J Smrz (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing)4, J Rea (Castrol Honda)5, E Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team)6, M Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team)7, A Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team)8, C Checa (Althea Racing)9, L Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport)10, M Berger (Supersonic Racing Team)11, J Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team)
Championship Standings (after round 10)1, C Checa 376pts2, M Melandri 3023, M Biaggi 2814, E Laverty 2325, L Haslam 1766, L Camier 15411, T Sykes 11413, J Lascorz 111