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Sunday, May 15, 2016
Sykes storms to win from pole, Zulfahmi starts from fifth
Tom Sykes took the win in Race 1 in the sixth round of the World Superbike Championship at Sepang International Circuit. - Bernama
PETALING JAYA: Kawasaki Racing Team rider Tom Sykes enjoyed an incredible win from pole position in the Malaysian round of the World Superbike Championship at the Sepang International Circuit.
He clocked 33:30.487 in the 16-lap race.
The British rider led team-mate and reigning world champion Jonathan Rea to a Kawasaki Racing Team one-two finish in Race 1.
Fellow British rider Rea finished the 16-lap race 5.600 seconds behind Sykes.
Aruba.it Racing Ducati rider Chaz Davies came in third.
Sykes was in a class of his own at the newly-refurbished track as he got the hammer down from the start, taking the gap to 3.5 seconds over Rea at half-distance and managing his tyre while pulling further ahead.
With the win, Sykes moved to third in the championship standings with 179 points.
The second placing helped Rea to extend his lead at the top to 39 points over Davies, who has 202 points.
Malaysian flag-bearer Zulfahmi Khairuddin earned the plaudits when he clocked the fifth fastest time of 2:08.475 in Superpole qualifying for the Supersports category.
Zulfahmi getting some advice from Sepang International Circuit CEO Datuk Razlan Razali (left) in the pit. - Bernama
Zulfahmi was delighted with his time despite the wet weather conditions.
“The morning was more or less dry, but the afternoon saw heavy rain. I had to get used to the ‘new’ Sepang circuit. Although the layout is more or less the same, some of the corners have been re-profiled and the bumps have been smoothened out,” said the former Moto3 rider who is in his rookie season in superbike racing.
“But I like the track layout ... now it’s not so bumpy, it’s more fun to ride.
“This morning, the grip wasn’t so good because there were a few damp patches around, so I didn’t push too hard in practice and tried to build up my confidence.
“I was surprised how good the grip was in the afternoon. I cannot remember the last time I experienced such good grip in the wet.”
The Supersport race will start at 2.20pm Sunday while Race 2 of the Superbike category will start at 4pm.
Malaysia is the sixth stop in the 13-round Superbike championship.