BSB Donington Park Race 1 Results [TS 2/3] | Sykes back on top, Ray widens lead

Tom Sykes transforms his 2022 BSB season with a surprise first win of the season at Donington Park; Bradley Ray extends lead despite late drop to fourth

Tom Sykes - Paul Bird Motorsport Ducati

Tom Sykes rolled back the years with a surprisingly dominant first win of the 2022 British Superbike Championship (BSB) season at Donington Park.

The British rider led comfortably from almost start-to-finish after taking the lead on the exit of the first corner, his commanding win evoking memories of his record nine victories around the same venue during his time in the WorldSBK Championship.

In the context of the 2022 BSB Title Showdown, Bradley Ray eked out his advantage at the head of the standings despite dropping from second to fourth in the closing stages, the OMG Yamaha rider nonetheless still benefiting from lacklustre results for closest rivals Tommy Bridewell and Lee Jackson.

With the second of three Title Showdown events taking place just days after an incident-filled and controversial weekend at Oulton Park, only six of the original eight championship contenders were present following the withdrawals of the injured Tarran Mackenzie and Rory Skinner.

Up at the front, Jason O’Halloran bounced back from his Oulton disaster of a triple non-score to take pole position, but a cautious approach into the Redgate only served to bully him back to sixth place.

Instead it was Kyle Ryde surging through from fifth on the grid to get the hole-shot tight into Turn 1, only to pay the price by running wide on the exit and allowing Sykes into the lead for the first time this season.

Quickly putting some air between himself and a chasing pack headed up by Ryde, Ray and Andrew Irwin, it was a margin that remained fairly static thereafter, the 2013 WorldSBK Champion getting into a rhythm on the MCE Ducati Panigale V4 R to stretch the field out.

While a reputation in WorldSBK for asking too much of the tyres too early in the race has certainly been in evidence on his return to BSB this year at times too, on this occasion Sykes remained in control throughout and - helped in part by some squabbling behind him - kept it neat to come home the winner by 1.4secs.

An anomalous highlight from a campaign that saw Sykes tipped as a title contender pre-season but had instead peaked with an erstwhile best result of sixth coming into the weekend, the Yorkshireman has found the going tough in his first BSB season since 2008. 

Evidently not helped by Paul Bird Motorsport team competing in the shadow of its former multiple title-winning self, the result pushes Sykes past team-mate Josh Brookes in the overall standings, albeit still down in 12th.

Further back, having shaken off the attentions of Andrew Irwin - who’d later retire with technical issues while running fifth - to hold onto third early on, Ray took second from OMG team-mate Ryde on Lap 4, triggering a flurry of overtakes on the rank outsider in the Title Showdown that dropped him to the bottom half of the top ten.

Though unable to make a dent on Sykes’ lead, Ray nonetheless appeared well on course for a rewarding second place finish ahead of his Title Showdown rivals. However, things began to unravel in the closing stages as he struggled for grip, with O’Halloran needing no invitation to pounce for second on the penultimate lap.

With Ray’s issues worsening over the final revolution, the championship favourite then threw a podium finish away by running well wide into the final Goddards corner, allowing Peter Hickman through into third for his second podium of the year.

Despite the late slip, Ray still benefited from having all but O’Halloran behind him in a Title Showdown context with Bridewell, Jackson and Irwin only bringing it home in eighth, sixth and fifth.

It means the trio remain as they were in second, third and fourth overall, but now trail Ray by 45, 51 and 53 points respectively.

Meanwhile, having seen his title aspirations dealt an almost terminal blow at Oulton Park, second place for the Aussie still faces a 58 point deficit to bridge with five races remaining.

Behind Irwin and Jackson, Ryde clung onto seventh place with Leon Haslam and Ryan Vickers rounding out the top ten and Brookes, Danny Buchan, Tom Neave, Takumi Takahashi and Ryo Mizuno completing the points’ paying positions.

2022 British Superbike Championship | Donington Park | Race 1 RESULTS

2022 British Superbike Championship | Donington Park | Race 1 RESULTS | Round 10 / 11 [TS 2 / 3]
PosRiderNat.WorldSBK TeamSuperbikeTiming
1Tom SykesGBRMCE DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R15 Laps
2Jason O'HalloranAUSMcAMS YamahaYamaha R1+1.476
3Peter HickmanGBRFHO RacingBMW M 1000 RR+2.085
4Bradley RayGBRRICH Energy OMG RacingYamaha R1+2.224
5Glenn IrwinGBRHonda RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R+3.277
6Lee JacksonGBRFS-3 RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR+8.052
7Kyle RydeGBRRICH Energy OMG RacingYamaha R1+9.979
8Tommy BridewellGBROxford RacingDucati Panigale V4 R+11.075
9Leon HaslamGBRVisionTrack KawasakiKawasaki ZX-10RR+13.069
10Ryan VickersGBRFHO RacingBMW M 1000 RR+13.453
11Josh BrookesAUSMCE DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+14.298
12Danny BuchanGBRSynetiq BMW MotorradBMW M 1000 RR+16.179
13Tom NeaveGBRHonda RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R+18.037
14Takumi TakahashiJPNHonda RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R+18.380
15Ryo MizunoJPNHonda RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R+20.582
16Storm StaceyGBRTeam LKQ Euro Car PartsKawasaki ZX-10RR+27.362
17Danny KentGBRBuildbase SuzukiSuzuki GSX-R1000R+27.513
18Chrissy RouseGBRCrowe PerformanceBMW M 1000 RR+27.596
19Charlie NesbittGBRBuildbase SuzukiSuzuki GSX-R1000R+27.783
20Josh OwensGBRRapid CDH RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR+33.090
21Dean HarrisonGBRDAO RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR+33.672
22Jack KennedyIRLMar-Train RacingYamaha R1+41.474
23Luke MosseyGBRiForce Bowker PR RacingBMW M 1000 RR+46.260
24Leon JeacockGBRSpecsavers SuzukiSuzuki GSX-R1000R+46.421
25Eemeli LahtiFINPowerslide RacingSuzuki GSX-R1000R+1m 06.631
26Andrew IrwinGBRSynetiq BMW MotorradBMW M 1000 RR 
27Liam DelvesGBRRapid CDH RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR