Biaggi pips Sykes to title by half a point

TOM Sykes insisted his World Superbike season would be remembered fondly despite agonisingly missing out on his debut championship title by just half a point - the smallest margin in the competition’s history.

The Kawasaki Racing Team rider from Leamington arrived at the final round of the campaign needing something of a motorbike miracle and with the help of his Italian rival, Max Biaggi, he very nearly delivered it.

Sykes trailed by 30.5 points with only 50 available. However, at the end of a breathless weekend at Magny Cours, Biaggi’s winning margin was just half a point.

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Having claimed his ninth pole position of a memorable season, Sykes threw everything at the Roman Emperor.

In race one, Biaggi took a tumble as Sykes finished third to leave the margin at 14.5 points heading into the season finale.

The Grinner promptly took victory in the second contest, however, with Biaggi claiming fifth spot - the lowest he could finish to take the title - victory went to Sykes’ rival.

Having ended last season 13th in the standings, Sykes was quick to point to how far he has come in the 2012 season.

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However, he was unable to shake off the question ‘what might have been?’ in his post-race assessment.

“We were on pole, took a new circuit record, got a podium and then a win and pulled back 30 points on Maxi,” he said. “Not easy against a rider of his level.

“Yes, obviously there is a massive disappointment on one hand because we were only half a point from the world championship.

“But on the other hand, being realistic, we are very happy and we have, by far, overachieved on expectations this year.”

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