It's been a milestone weekend for Kawasaki at Donington Park. Tom Sykes' victory in Race 1 saw the Englishman claim a historic ninth consecutive victory at the venue and on Sunday his Kawasaki teammate, Jonathan Rea, gave the Japanese manufacturer their 100th victory in the class.
“It means a lot to me to take this win,” said Rea afterwards. “We had to bounce back after yesterday and overnight the guys worked so hard. I knew I could win today but coming from tenth is so difficult but I guess that's what happens when I push really hard. I want to dedicate this race win to Nicky Hayden, the world is a worse place without him.”
Once again WorldSBK delivered racing fit to pay tribute to Hayden. The scrap between the Kawasaki riders really heated up in the second half of the 23 lap race. Sykes came back from a four second deficit to put Rea under pressure in the closing stages but ultimately despite a string of fastest laps the 2013 world champion was unable to get back on level terms.
“All good things come to an end in life [run of nine wins] but I'm happy,” said Sykes. “Today I lost a fair fight, unfortunately I had a bad start, my position wasn't good in ninth and I got boxed in. Rea took some closing down, but I had an excitable and enjoyable race. The character of the bike was in the ball park, and today I was beaten fairly.”
The win means that Rea has drawn within one victory of Sykes in the Kawasaki stakes. The duo have claimed 32 and 31 wins respectively for the Japanese manufacturer. The other riders to claim wins were all noted by Kawasaki in the parc ferme. Adrien Morillas claimed their first win in 1988 and since then Doug Chandler, Robert Phillis, Aaron Slight, Scott Russel, Anthony Gobert, Akira Yanagawa, Hitoyasu Izutsu, Sykes, Loris Baz and Jonathan Rea have all taken the checkered flag for the marque.