This bank holiday we are at the home of many riders at Donington Park! Sadly we arrive here missing someone. On Monday, Nicky Hayden passed away after a collision while cycling. Nicky is an inspiration to many and will continue to be and he will never be forgotten. This weekend many want to do him proud and race for him. Rest in peace champ!
Luckily we had a dry Superpole session and it was Laverty and Fores who made it through to SP2. Previously, Sykes has had back to back pole positions at this track and 5 in total – The King of Donington. The session went on with very little drama and only a small crash from Haslam but once again, Sykes managed to get pole breaking his own record now making it 1:26:641.
The starting grid for race 1 would be home hero, Sykes leading in front of Rea and Davies. Row 2 would be Lowes, Melandri and Laverty followed by Forés, Haslam – competing as a wild card, and then Mercado. Lining up behind them on row 4 was Camier, van der Mark, Savadori and behind them was Torres who seemed to be a lot happier and healthier this weekend, Krummenacher, De Angelis and British wild card Dixon. Bradl, team mate to the late Nicky Hayden and racing for him this weekend would be lining up in 17th. De Rosa rounds out row 6, and on Row 7 was Ramos ahead of Russo and Jezek and finally, lining up on the 22nd grid position was Badovini.
The race started with Davies getting the hole shot and Haslam getting an incredible start coming up the inside forcing Laverty to sit up and also Lowes who had to run off track and got pushed back down to 20th.
Davies was consistently putting in new fast laps while Rea and Sykes were battling for 2nd with Haslam – the wild card in 3rd. Lowes had been making good pace and in 6 laps he had managed to get up to 14th while the battle at the front was heating up. It got a bit too much as Davies crashed at T12, but was able to rejoin and come into 14th.
It was then all up to Rea who had a 2 second lead over Sykes and he had begun to put in fast laps but the pressure was on, as for the second time Rea had made some mistakes. Sykes – as no surprise, was catching up and fast, and eventually made the move on Rea which he couldn’t make stick. He stayed on his rear wheel and a few laps later, made the move again, meaning he could start to bridge out a gap from Rea.
On the final few laps, Rea started to drop back and on the penultimate lap he suffered a big crash but was OK. Rea was seen looking at his rear tyre and it appeared there was a problem for him. This was Rea’s first mistake of the year.
This is what the podium guys had to say:
P1 – Sykes: “It was fantastic, had to work for it but like I just said to the other guys, can’t really start the interview, I don’t feel it proper without obviously, giving my condolences to Nicky’s family and it’s very strange not having my next door neighbor here with me and his smile – So it’s been slightly strange all weekend and me and my brother have noticed that, in a small way this one has been for him. Overall the weekend has been good, really nice to continue our form, free practice had been going really nice and I said to my crew chief last night, “I’ll do my side and give you a little bit extra.” so, the bike was working that nice and in the windy conditions and I was really struggling but I managed to find a few things and when I passed Rea. I was into the 27s which is really nice so overally, happy. Really good result for the championship and now we need to keep working, tomorrow is another day, try and improve the bike.”
P2 – Haslam: “Yesterdays pace I felt really comfortable to maybe challenge for that 3rd place. Today we had a bit of a disaster, we had a bit of a vibrating and stopping problem and we put it back it to yesterdays settings but with the track temperature being so different it was behaving differently. Obviously, Davies and Rea crashed but I was pretty happy with what I did. It was a lonely position and I was just managing the guys behind but, you know, I’m over the moon, I’m so happy for the team, they’re fantastic and JG for giving me this opportunity.”
P3 – Lowes: “Haslam came up the inside lap one and I sort of went off track, Laverty hit me and it was to be expected from Haslam, he is here as a wild card, he’s a little bulldog, he’s one of my best mates off the track so – He still owes me a tenner and I’m going to definitely make sure I get it now. It was a fantastic race, the bike was great, we probably had the pace for 4th or 5th and we got a bit lucky with Melandri on the last lap but you have to put yourself in that position. I really enjoyed it and I think that all of us rode for Nicky and I was thinking at the top of Hollywood where the bike was sliding a lot, I was thinking of him.”
Race Results: Sykes 1st making it 9 wins here being the most successful rider, followed by Haslam and Lowes. In 4th was Melandri, from van der Mark, Camier, Mercado, Davies, Torres and finishing the top 10 was Forés. It was then Ramos, Savadori, Laverty, Krummenacher. De Rosa in 15th, Badovini 16th and taking the final two spots was De Angelis and Jezek.
DNF: Rea (crash) Bradl, Russo and Dixon who all had to retire.