Misano WorldSBK: Front ‘bounce’ hampers Sykes in the heat

Picture: GeeBee Images

Former WorldSBK champion Tom Sykes, who won Superpole 46 on Saturday morning, wasready to mix it up with his team-mate for the first race.

A front suspension problem reared its head soon after the start of the race and Sykes began to lose pace from then on. Once again it left Sykes bitterly disappointed that class-leading pace was turned into a finish well off the podium places.

“I felt we would be much stronger,” he said on Saturday afternoon. “It was a strange one because in the first few laps I was definitely comfortable and happy with the way things were going, then for some reason we started to have this issue that we had in Thailand.

“We keep trying stuff with the Showa suspension and it looks like it wasn’t the way today. That same issue from Thailand repeated itself today in the hot conditions. Obviously we won’t be using that material for tomorrow. So hopefully our race on Sunday should be less interrupted.”

Sykes explained the problem in race one. “As soon as I started to release the brake I have – you wouldn’t even call it chatter – it is like the front bounces,” said Sykes. “It does not copy the road. In the fast turn 11, in sixth gear, it is normally better if the front copies the road… So I started losing a lot of time initially, even behind Jonathan in the first couple of laps in the slipstream, there is normally where you take and advantage, when you follow somebody.

“It just wouldn’t work today. I was losing the front there. From about one third it started getting worse and we were able to maintain a stable lap time, but not where we should have been. I am disappointed in that respect. But considering the problems we have, I was happy to finish fifth. In Thailand we had to retire.”

The near 30°C ambient temperatures at Misano may have been the main culprit for Sykes.
“I said to Marcel my crew chief that it looks like it is temperature related, because here is quite warm. Not outstandingly hot but probably warmer than any other race we have done, except Thailand. And both times we have had this issue.”

Sykes again lost ground to not only Rea but his other main championship rivals, Chaz Davies and Michael van der Mark.

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