Sykes forced to settle for second-best behind Rea at Imola

JONATHAN REA continued his domination of this year’s World Superbikes with back-to-back wins in the Imola Grand Prix.

Huddersfield's Tom Sykes Picture: Rui Vieira/PA.

Rea extended his already healthy lead at the top of the standings by claiming his seventh and eighth wins of the campaign out of just 10 possible, and now sits 87 points clear of his nearest competitor, Leon Haslam.

The first race was shortened due to a crash, with Huddersfield Tom Sykes – his Kawasaki team-mate – and Davide Giugliano leading Rea before an accident on the ninth lap involving David Salom forced the red flags to be waved.

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However the championship leader fought back upon the restart in an electric six-lap finale. Giugliano fell away but Rea and Sykes recorded record laps on the second and third circuits respectively to bring a big crowd to their feet.

Kawasaki’s Rea clung on to claim the win ahead of Sykes, while Haslam had to settle for fourth place having struggled to keep up with the leaders.

The second race was more comfortable for the Northern Irishman. He came in 4.399 seconds ahead of Sykes, as the pair once again completed a one-two for Kawasaki.

Chaz Davies’ nightmare afternoon continued as he suffered his second technical fault of the day to drop out of contention, having been set for a place on the final podium which would have kept him within touching distance of the top three in the overall standings.

Jordi Torres ended up claiming the final podium position, but was over 20 seconds behind Rea and Sykes who stormed home, with Sykes moving up to third place in the drivers’ standings.