WSBK: Battling Rea ends Sykes' winning run at Donington
Jonathan Rea ended Tom Sykes' dominance at Donington Park as the Ulster rider controlled race two from the front to clinch Kawasaki's 100th World Superbike win on Sunday.
Rea, who started from 10th place on the grid, roared into the lead at Redgate on the second lap and began to rattle off a series of fast laps as he built a commanding lead on the ZX-10RR.
Sykes did not make the same lighting start as his team-mate and had to battle his way through to second place past Michael van der Mark. By that time, Rea was over four seconds ahead but Sykes doggedly hunted down the reigning world champion and closed to within 1.2 seconds of the runaway leader.
However, Rea dug deep and the 30-year-old was strong on the final two laps as he did enough to close out his 46th World Superbike win by 1.6 seconds, ending Sykes’ stunning run of nine successive victories at Donington.
It was a sweet success for the Ballyclare man, who failed to score any points in Saturday's race when his rear tyre lost pressure, causing him to crash out of second place at Craner Curves.
Ducati’s Chaz Davies battled back to seal the final place on the rostrum after being caught up in an incident at the start of the race, when van der Mark pushed Leandro Mercado wide, who then clipped wildcard rider Leon Haslam. British Superbike frontrunner Haslam ran off the track at Goddards as the British rider suffered huge disappointment following his terrific runner-up result in race one on Saturday.
Welshman Davies, who was shunted back to 15th following the van der Mark/Mercado clash, worked his way through the field on the Panigale.
He passed van der Mark in the closing stages to snatch third, with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha) slotting into fifth ahead of Leon Camier on the MV Agusta.
Eugene Laverty’s weekend ended on a disappointing note as the Toome man crashed out of the race on the Milwaukee Aprilia.