After setting the fastest ever Superbike lap around the Sepang circuit in Superpole, Kawasaki Racing Team rider Tom Sykes led a Kawasaki Racing Team 1-2 in race 1 of the sixth round of the 2016 World Superbike Championship. Teammate and reigning Champion Jonathan Rea had to be content with second, ahead of Racing’s Chaz Davies on his Ducati.

Tom Sykes on his way to victory in Malaysia

Image courtesy Kawasaki Motors Corp.

Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha) got the hole shot when the lights went out, leading the pack into the opening corner but he could not keep the Kawasaki duo behind him.

Sykes began to pull a gap on teammate Rea, setting a new lap record on lap 2, and went on to take a comfortable win. Rea had to fend off the attentions of Davies for much of the race but eventually shook of the challenge to take second.

Markus Reiterberger impressed for Althea BMW, leading a charge back up the field to P4 in a stunning show of pace, until a mechanical problem forced him to retire. This allowed teammate Jordi Torres, who had fought his way to the front of the second group, to take fourth.

Alex Lowes on his way to fourth place

Image courtesy Yamaha Racing

Lowes, who had been running with the leaders for the opening five laps, ran off the circuit and dropped down to ninth. He staged an impressive fight back to fifth ahead of Davide Giugliano on the second Racing Ducati.

Honda duo Nicky Hayden and Michael van der Mark had a race of opposites as the American lost pace towards the end of the race while his Dutch teammate moved up the through the field. Van der Mark was able to get past his teammate on the penultimate lap to come home just ahead of Hayden who crossed the line in eighth.

Anthony West, riding for injured Sylvain Barrier at Pedercini, came home in ninth, an incredible result considering he only got on the bike for the first time on yesterday. MV Agusta rider Leon Camier battled in the early part of the race but fought back steadily to round out the top 10. Josh Brookes beat Sepang veteran Karel Abraham over the line in the Milwaukee BMW inter-team battle, ahead of Lucas Scassa, a replacement rider, and Xavi For├ęs for Barni Racing Team. Grillini rider Josh Hook was the final points scorer, with the Australian rookie closing out the top 15.

Race 2 will get underway on Sunday at 16:00 local time (10hoo CAT).