WAR HAS finally broken out in the Kawasaki WorldSBK team after reigning champion Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes collided in the second race at Brno which left the series leader in the gravel trap.
The pair have never been the best of friends but the incident on lap three in Sunday's encounter left Rea furious, especially as he had signed a new deal with the team that weekend. Whether Sykes remains as a KRT employee remains to be seen.
“I had to try and go and make my own race. Then the accident at turn 12 happened and that was it. I do not know what part touched, it happened so fast. He drove into the side of me, it is clear to see from his onboard footage that he completely hit the side of my bike and side of my body," said Rea.
“My elbow, knee and the side of my bike. From the uphill facing camera is was hard to see because we were in a group, but from his onboard camera, you can very clearly see that he rode straight into the side of me. It was a side contact.
“The only thing I can’t understand is what was in Tom’s brain in that moment of madness. I can’t understand this guy that when every other rider in the paddock passes, him, he cannot fight with other riders. He goes in the race when there is a fight to be had, he is going backwards. But when it is me, he is attacking straight back at the next corner."
Sykes defended, saying that Rea had run wide after an attempted pass and he just stuck to his line.
The long and short is that he made an uncalculated pass, ran wide and obviously I focused on my exit up the hill," said the Huddersfield rider.
“He obviously looked to cut it back, he was off the line, and he tried to cut it back onto the racing line and I was there so… People can say what they want but there was nothing to it, just a racing incident.
“For example, there was no action taken. I was speaking to race direction, because clearly somebody has complained, but you can see when he passes me into the right, he goes in there too fast and my bike never changes angle. There are a couple of bumps and you see the camera moving but it never changes the degree. It is a nice linear pick up.
“If there was anything like that you would see it on the camera anyway. The fact is he made a mistake. If I pass somebody on the inside and run wide, when I cut the bike back, you have always got to check."
Sykes eventually crashed later in the race.