Sykes tops table for first time

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Tom Sykes enjoyed double success at Imola yesterday to top the World Superbike Championship standings.

The Kawasaki rider trailed Sylvain Guintoli by 28 points heading into the weekend, but slashed that deficit to just three with victory in the opening race. Sykes’ challenge was helped when Frenchman Guintoli had to retire his Aprilia early on. The Briton then led race two from start to finish to move to the top of the points table for the first time in his career.

Sykes’ success in race one followed a tussle with Althea Aprilia’s Davide Giugliano, who clung on to his rival until the leader pulled away in the latter stages. Italian Giugliano finished second ahead of Ireland’s Eugene Laverty (Aprilia).

Sykes then built on that success to run away with race two, seeing off an early challenge by Giugliano before completing the rest of the race untroubled. The Kawasaki racer finished five seconds clear of compatriot Jonathan Rea (Honda) while Guintoli ensured the day was not a total loss by standing third on the podium.

On Saturday in Assen, Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi claimed his first win since 2010 at the Dutch Grand Prix and world champion Jorge Lorenzo finished fifth two days after breaking his collarbone.

Rossi took the lead on the sixth lap at Assen and was never overtaken, sealing maximum points ahead of Spain’s Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow, the first Briton to start from pole since 2002.