2019 Donington World Superbike Superpole Race Result: Hot Race, Cold Finish

The World Superbike Superpole Race took part on a glorious English Sunday and had everyone rushing to the rulebook at the end.

Tom Sykes headed into the first turn from pole position ahead of Jonathan Rea who had Leon Haslam trying to pass him on the outside. Toprak Razgatlioglu and Peter Hickman held off Alvaro Bautista, but Bautista found a way past Hickman to eld the first lap in fifth place, with Loris Baz behind him.

On lap two, just before Sykes set the fastest lap, Razgatlioglu took third place from Haslam, taking his tighter line through the Melbourne Loop. Lap three, Rea charged under Sykes into Fogarty's Esses, but carried too much speed to make a clean exit and Sykes pushed Rea to the edge of the track on the exit to take the lead back. Two laps later, Rea made the pass into the Esses work and held the lead. At the last corner, Rea went a little wide, but Sykes wasn't close enough to capitalise on it. Alvaro Bautista caught Leon Haslam, bringing Loris Baz with him and making the leading group six bikes.

After Rea completed lap seven, setting a new lap record, the red flags were brought out. Peter Hickman's BMW blew its engine, shedding oil down the straight from the Esses to the Melbourne Loop, bringing six bikes down. As the leader, Jonathan Rea, had completed two-thirds of the ten laps, the race was called.

On the cool down lap, Jonathan Rea slid a little on the oil but made it safely through, but Tom Sykes crashed on his teammate's spilt fluid. Sykes couldn't get his bike back within the five minutes and was ruled out of classification, gifting Toprak Razgatlioglu with second place ahead of a surprised Leon Haslam who didn't know he was on the podium.

The spirit of the rules firmly clashed with the actual rules, robbing Sykes of his third second place in a row. Alvaro Bautista finished in fourth place, fifteen points off Jonathan Rea's championship lead. Only eleven riders scored points.


Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR  
2 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 11:10'23.258
3 91 L. HASLAM Kawasaki ZX-10RR 11:10'23.750
4 19 A. BAUTISTA Ducati Panigale V4 R 11:10'24.373
5 76 L. BAZ Yamaha YZF R1 11:10'24.868
6 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 11:10'25.908
7 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale V4 R 11:10'07.035
8 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 11:10'07.337
9 81 J. TORRES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 11:10'08.687
10 33 M. MELANDRI Yamaha YZF R1 11:10'09.565
11 21 M. RINALDI Ducati Panigale V4 R 11:10'16.715
RET 66 T. SYKES BMW S1000 RR 11:10'22.477
RET 10 P. HICKMAN BMW S1000 RR 11:10'09.626
RET 11 S. CORTESE Yamaha YZF R1 6
RET 36 L. MERCADO Kawasaki ZX-10RR 6
RET 23 R. KIYONARI Honda CBR1000RR 11:10'21.607
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On Eurosport later in the day, the actual facts were revealed by Stuart Higgs the course director. There were four oil flags being shown, and after checking Sykes' data, he was riding too fast under the red flag. As Shane Byrne pointed out, he should also have picked his bike up and got it back instead of walking away. Sorry for Sykes but the rules are the rules and the ensuing Twitterstorm (as they ever do) was unleashed without the full facts. Higgs is going to change the rules for BSB to ensure riders slow down to a safe level under a red flag in future, such is the seriousness with which he regarded this.

I was surprised Tom was complaining about cars being on the course (they were off the track in fact). That should have indicated to him to slow down in itself.

I agree completely, and the procedure in Irish Road racing is worth a look - riders stop, immediately where they are and ensure the course is clear for emergency vehicles. A lot of club series have issues with a lack of respect for warning flags (yellows especially). Anyone who has ever had a crash that has warranted a waved yellow, or knows any marshalls will tend to behave better. Where marshall's safety is an issue, its hard to have sympathy. Jonathon should be thanking his lucky stars he got away with it! I have a hazy recollection of people having qualifying laps scrubbed for being too close to full pace on a track with a held yellow?