CLASH OF THE TITANS
Tom Sykes, the reigning champion, must suddenly be feeling the “Animal” breathing down his neck. The World Superbike Championship 2014 is racing towards an exciting climax and the title clash has become hot, thanks to a dramatic race in Jerez, Spain, in September.
Sykes, the Kawasaki racer, riding comfortably with 352 points right in front, was taken by surprise by Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli – some people call him “Animal” for his winning instincts – who stepped on it to push the champion back and narrow down the lead margin by a mere 31 points (321) with three races remaining. The title now hangs in balance and Sykes has his job well cut out.
But then, it was not Guintoli who actually scorched Jerez. That was done by his team-mate Marco Melandri, the winner there. Melandri won Jerez not once, but twice in a performance that had his fans screaming for more. He grabbed two WSBK wins in one day at the Circuito de Jerez to deny the title hopeful Guintoli more valuable points, while sending defending champion Sykes on a spin.
It was master racing by Melandri, dodging the pack leaders in front and overtaking them in style. Guintoli finished second and Sykes third. Sykes, riding his Ninja ZX-10R, has been maintaining a strong championship lead with two rounds to go. His team-mate Loris Baz was on course for a first race podium at Jerez until he collided with another rider, while David Salom in the SBK EVO class had a mixed day, but still enjoys a significant EVO championship lead.
(Full Text PTA News Bureau)