Sykes home race as Sofuoglu bids to retain Supersport lead
Englishman Tom Sykes and French rider Loris Baz will be out to get on the podium again this
Weekend in World Superbikes, as they each did last time out, with Silverstone providing the second home race of the 2012 season for Sykes.
Tom's second year on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R has now included one race win, eight podiums, seven Superpole qualifying victories and three fastest laps. Most significantly of all, his two most recent second place finishes at Brno pushed him back into the top three in the championship, 38 points behind second place rider Marco Melandri and eight points ahead of fourth place rider Carlos Checa.
Tom has occupied a top three place in the championship rankings for virtually the whole season, only dropping out of this ranking after being taken out at Motorland Aragon. For Sykes racing at his home round will bring extra pressures as well as extra pleasures but the combination of man, machine and team has shown its resilience on many occasions.
Loris Baz scored a personal career high point last time out at Brno, securing a podium finish in third, in only his ninth individual SBK race. The nineteen-year old rider is getting more and more comfortable on his official Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R with every outing and was even moved to say that he felt he had been riding the bike for over a year when he got on the podium at Brno.
Tom Sykes: “I am looking forward to getting to Silverstone to ride in front of a home crowd. If the weather is anything like as nice it has been in the last week, then all the better. Going there, especially off the back of a strong weekend in Brno, is a little bit more exciting. I am looking forward to it even more.
We made another step in the set-up of the Ninja ZX-10R last time out and that was witnessed by a lot of people. When the bike is working at its absolute best they can see how much better a job I can do. I am confident that when we nail the set-up each time I will be able to back up my strong qualifying performances.”
Loris Baz: “I know Silverstone from when I raced in Superstock and from BSB and I like the track; it is really good. It is also difficult because it has fast sections, slow sections, changes of direction and lots of changes in speed. I am looking forward to it especially after the good weekend we had in Brno.”
On the Ninja ZX-6R in Supersport, Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) has a useful 23-point lead going into Silverstone but he is by no means the only Kawasaki rider in with a chance of WSS victory in the UK.
Kenan has won two races so far this year, at Phillip Island and Misano Adriatico, but Kawasaki Intermoto Step rider Fabien Foret has also secured two victories, at Imola and the previous race at Brno. That most recent maximum points score pushed him up to third in the championship, only six points behind second place rider Sam Lowes.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “I think Silverstone is a nice track. I do not know it on my Kawasaki but there are some very fast corners and some slow corners on the new part. I cannot say it is my favourite track but the only thing that matters is that my bike feels nice on the circuit, and that I will see on Friday.
A rider should not have the chance to say he likes this track or that track; we should be able to ride well on any track. It will be difficult to say before Friday how things will be but we should find a set-up for Saturday to take into race day.”
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