Sykes Salvages A Top Ten At Thruxton
It was another challenging day at Thruxton on Sunday for the Lake District-based MCE Ducati team with the two British Superbike Championship races seeing Tom Sykes claim tenth and 12th place finishes whilst teammate Josh Brookes scored a single point for 15th in the opening race of the day.
With another hot day in the Hampshire sunshine, Yorkshireman Sykes started the first race from eighth position and a superb start on the factory-supported and MCE Insurance-sponsored PBM Ducati Panigale V4R enabled him to complete the opening lap in fifth place. By lap ten, half race distance, he’d slipped back to seventh but hopes remained high of a top six finish. However, in the final third of the race, his pace dropped, and he eventually took the chequered flag in 12th place.
Starting the final race of the weekend back in 13th, another good start meant the former World Superbike champion advanced four places forward on the opening lap and, continually moving forward, he was up to sixth by half race distance. The second half of the race was a lot more challenging and for the final third of the race, his pace again dropped, and the end result was tenth place.
For Australian teammate Brookes, it was another challenging day, but he dug deep in the opening race and, after starting from 24th on the grid, he moved forward throughout the race and was rewarded for his efforts with 15th and a hard-earned championship point.
After his best showing of the weekend, the 2015 and 2020 BSB champion lined up for the final race of the weekend from 18th on the grid and again looked more competitive than earlier in the weekend. He was soon up inside the points and looking good to climb up into the top ten, but all hopes were dashed when the bike slowed on the fourth lap and he was, unfortunately, forced to retire.
Tom Sykes: “It’s disappointing to finish tenth and 12th as that’s not what I came to BSB for but I’m not able to do any better than that at present. It was obviously nice to be at the sharp end and run in the top six for most of each race but there was little grip left at the end in either race. I rode conservative at the beginning and waited before making my move but when the time came, there wasn’t the grip to allow me to make that move. I know both my own and the team’s capabilities, so we’ll keep working hard as it’s not in our ethic to do anything but that.”
Josh Brookes: “To come away today with just a single 15th place finish is massively disappointing but we made progress in each race and whilst it’s obviously come a bit too late, I was really happy with the bike in the last race. It was chaotic in the first few laps, like BSB often is, but I out drove some riders at the back of the track which was a real thrill as I hadn’t been able to do that all weekend. The changes to the set-up worked and the bike was working really well but all of a sudden, it stopped, like the ignition had been turned off or something. It’s frustrating that we couldn’t show the improvements in an end result, but I never give up and my spirits have improved so I’ll come out fighting at Cadwell.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “After a top ten finish yesterday, hopes were high for Tom improving upon that today but although he ran as high as the top six in each race, he had no grip for the last five laps, and he dropped back. It’s a shame as it was the best form he’d shown all season. For Josh, he ended the weekend a lot more optimistic as the changes he and the team made for the final race worked as they’d hoped. He was definitely on course for his best result of the weekend, but it wasn’t to be, and we’ll need to check the bike and data to find out what happened. He never stopped trying, which is typical of Josh but, unfortunately, we haven’t given him the tools for the job and one point from the last five races means getting into the Showdown will be a mammoth task.”