Sykes "close" to tears after emotional Assen win

By: Lewis Duncan , Journalist
Apr 25, 2018, 8:09 AM

Tom Sykes says he came "close" to tears following his dominant victory on Sunday at Assen after a difficult start to the season that "didn't justify" the work done with the Kawasaki in testing.

Race winner Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing
Podium: race winner Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing
Race winner Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing
Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing
Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing, Xavi Fores, Barni Racing Team
Race winner Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing, second place Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing
Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing, Xavi Fores, Barni Racing Team
Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Racing-Ducati SBK Team, Roman Ramos, Team Go Eleven
Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing

Sykes started Sunday's outing from pole after finishing fourth in race one, and took the holeshot at the start, easing to a six-second win over teammate Jonathan Rea to claim his first win since the Misano round last June.

With just one podium to his credit this season prior to his Assen win, the KRT rider feels the 'magic Sykes' has returned, and pins part of his success on reassuring words from crew chief Marcel Duinker after his race one disappointment.

Asked if there were tears under his visor as he crossed the line on Sunday, Sykes replied: "Yeah, close.

"I went to bed on Saturday and was disappointed with Saturday's race for a number of reasons. Even my team manager said, 'Why didn't you pass [Chaz] Davies [for third]?'

"I thought it was quite impossible, and we have seen with [Randy] Krummenacher [in the Supersport race] he was eight tenths faster than the leaders, and when he got there it was difficult to pass. He had the speed to win by a long way.

"I haven't had an easy time in the last 18 months and the good thing is that Marcel is not only my crew chief, but also an amazing friend.

"He helped me, he gently reminded me where we came from in the past and how we've got to where we are now. It was really great.

"I knew the results didn't justify the effort we have put into testing. On a clear track, everywhere we visited, I believe we are race winners.

"Unfortunately in a battle the bike isn't as brave as it should be and I said this to the press before, but of course there are people who don't believe this. 

"Last night I knew a little bit of magic Sykes was back and I wanted to prove myself and get out in front, [like] we've done in the past."

"Dickhead" Rinaldi scuppered double chance

Sykes feels he could have won both races at Assen had it not been for him qualifying sixth, the result of a late call by Ducati rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi to dive into pitlane just as Sykes was finishing his final flying lap.

"I was so disappointed on Saturday, I was spitting, but my brother and Marcel were so positive," he said.

"I feel I could have won the race on Saturday. I felt this weekend could and should have been the double but it's a chain of events.

"Rinaldi was an absolute dickhead in qualifying, and both of us could have missed both races due to the very stupid mistake he made.

"At that moment I was only one tenth behind Jonathan, which could have been a front row start and that could have influenced the result."

Additional reporting by Mark Bremer

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About this article

Series World Superbike
Event Assen
Location TT Circuit Assen
Drivers Tom Sykes
Teams Kawasaki Racing
Author Lewis Duncan
Article type Breaking news