In the second race Sykes led for 18 of the 22-laps and despite a late charge to try and overtake Laverty he hit the kerb on the final chicane, and lost out by only 0.089 seconds.
But Sykes led every single one of race one’s 22-laps, and even set a new lap record of 1’35.893 on lap two. He was over eight seconds clear at the end for a popular win and Kawasaki’s first victory at Assen since 2006.
The bearded rider surprised himself with how well his bike performed, but a mistake on the final lap of race two made the rider come out of his seat, and even though he wanted to do the double, he was happy with finishing on the podium, not once but twice today.
“It was almost the perfect race weekend for us after winning Superpole as well. We have made progress after a slow start to the season so we will build more momentum now to move it all forward again. The bike was working well and was very consistent today. When Eugene came past me in race two I realised it was much easier to follow than to lead round here and it was just unfortunate that exiting the final chicane on the last lap I hit the kerb on the inside when I was trying to pass him, and I was out of the seat,” said Huddersfield’s finest.
“It would have been great to win race two as well but I am happy with the day and we had great support at Assen from all the Kawasaki fans and some Tom Sykes fans. Race one was great for us and we did all we could. We have had a very strong winter test programme, learned a lot and have a lot of information and data. Now we are finding where we need to be.
“Overall I am happy because we did a lot of hard work in free practice yesterday. To be honest I surprised myself a little but the Ninja ZX-10R is working great. We have some great people who fight in my corner and they have given me a strong package so that I can do quite a lot of what I want to do with the bike. That first race was nice and believe me, to see that pit board gap get bigger after every lap is magical for a rider.”
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