WORLD SUPERBIKES: Jonathan Rea unable to halt Donington specialist Sykes

Tom Sykes leads Jonathan Rea at Donington Park.
Tom Sykes leads Jonathan Rea at Donington Park.

World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea was unable to halt his Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes as the Yorkshire rider clinched a record-breaking eighth win in a row at Donington Park on Sunday.

Sykes, who won Saturday’s opening race from Italian rider Davide Giugliano ( Ducati) with Rea filling the rostrum in third, sealed his eighth successive victory at the British track, clawing back 14 points in the championship chase.

However, Ulsterman Rea – who had to settle for the runner-up spot in race two – still maintains a healthy advantage of 56 points at the top of the standings after the first seven rounds and remains in pole position to clinch back-to-back world crowns.

Rea has been struggling with an engine problem and ran off the track on Saturday after hitting a false neutral, costing him valuable time.

The same issue reared its head again on Sunday, with Rea running wide at Goddards after briefly taking the lead from Sykes.

The 29-year-old, who has shown remarkable consistency on the Ninja ZX-10R once more this year – never finishing outside the top three in 14 races – also began to suffer from arm pump in the closing stages of race two, falling back on the last lap in particular as Sykes powered clear to wrap up victory on home soil by two seconds.

Sykes and Rea battled it out at the front from lap two, when Chaz Davies ran wide on the Ducati at Goddards.

Rea briefly led after making a pass on Sykes’ inside at the Melbourne Hairpin with four laps to go, only to run wide shortly after at Goddards when he hit a neutral.

Sykes then rattled off a succession of fast laps to guarantee his eighth win in a row at Donington, with Welshman Davies completing the rostrum places, 2.4 seconds behind Rea.

Lorenzo Savadori (Ioda Aprilia), Leon Camier (MV Agusta) and Honda’s Nicky Hayden completed the top six.

In Saturday’s opening race, Sykes had to work his way through to overhaul Davide Giugliano, eventually pulling away to win by almost three seconds with Rea recovering to finish third after running off the track at Goddards.

British rider Camier was a fine fourth on the MV Agusta followed by Hayden and Savadori.

Misano in Italy hosts the next round from June 17-19.