/ Motorsport

Tom Sykes wins Superbike title with Eugene Laverty second

Updated: Sunday, 20 Oct 2013 16:16 | Comments

Eugene Laverty (left) has finished second overall to Tom Sykes (right) in the Superbike Riders Championship
Eugene Laverty (left) has finished second overall to Tom Sykes (right) in the Superbike Riders Championship

An emotional Tom Sykes admitted he had shed tears after winning the World Superbike Championship in Jerez, Spain, where Irishman Eugene Laverty has won both races to finish second overall in the riders standings.

Sykes, the Huddersfield-born 28-year-old Kawasaki rider, who missed out on the 2012 title by half a point, finished third in the opening race of the final round at Jerez.

He did enough to take the championship at the Spanish circuit as he finished behind Laverty (Aprilia) and the Gold Bet BMW of Italian Marco Melandri.

Sykes, who lives in Coventry, became the fourth British winner of the title after Carl Forgarty, Neil Hodgson and James Toseland.

Sykes did not have it all his own way in race two as he was forced to settle for second place.

Sykes had led until half distance but then Laverty took control, winning his second race of the day comfortably from the newly-crowned champion with Frenchman Sylvain Gunitoli finishing in third.

Laverty's double victory in Jerez means he finishes second in the riders championship standings on 424 points behind Sykes on 447 points. Guintoli finished third with 402 points.

"Congratulations to Tom on the championship. Tom and Kawasaki moved the goalposts very far this year" - Eugene Laverty

"I'm absolutely over the moon, so emotional. I was shedding a few tears on the slowing down lap, I was shaking," Sykes told British Eurosport.

"There have been lots of sacrifices to get here. Finally we're here and what a feeling."

Sykes had lost the title in 2012 by half a point to Italian Max Biaggi and also started this year with a cracked bone in his left wrist but was able to cope with an up and down season to take the title.

He added: "Luckily this is our moment. I was so close last year. I've been waiting a long time for this and she's finally here."

Laverty, who won a fierce battle with Melandri to take the first race win, added: "Congratulations to Tom on the championship. Tom and Kawasaki moved the goalposts very far this year.

"They did a fantastic job and congratulations to them."

Laverty held the lead for most of the race until his Italian rival went ahead of him on the penultimate lap.

But Laverty went around the outside of Melandri in the final corner to snatch a dramatic victory.

Sykes rode to a safe third place after dealing with the attentions of Guintoli on the second factory Aprilia.

Hampered by his left wrist injury at the start of the season Sykes had taken his time to show his true speed.

But a first and a second at round three in Holland showed he would be a title contender and he followed that up by taking a double race win at Donington Park.

Sykes repeated that in Italy but his second home round at Silverstone proved a low point as he could only finish 11th and seventh.

But from there Skyes showed the sort of form which has earned him the title, taking a race win in Germany, two podium finishes in Turkey, a win and a fourth in the United States and a double victory in France before sealing the title in Spain.

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