Round 3 of the 2013 World Superbike Championship produced another couple of engrossing races, as Kawasaki rider Tom Sykes took his first victory of the season in Race 1 while Eugene Laverty bounced back from a round to forget in Aragón to win the second race at the Dutch track.
In the first race Sykes cleared off at the front to win by an impressive 8.7s, as he put on an unforgiving display of precision and high intensity. The real show took place behind him as Jonathan Rea, Sylvain Guintoli and Laverty scrapped it out for the remaining two podium spots.
In the end Rea was able to hold off Guintoli – by just 0.006s – for second and the Honda rider's first top-three finish of the 2013 campaign, while Aprilia man Guintoli added more valuable points to his haul as he protected his lead at the top of the standings.
In the second race Laverty's displeasure at missing out on the podium in the first encounter drove him to victory, but he had to work hard for it and also deny Sykes a double race win in the process.
The pair engaged in a fight out front with what would eventually amount to a 5s-plus gap to the remainder of the field. It was in the end Laverty who managed his drive out of the last corner on the final lap best, pipping Sykes to victory by 0.089s, with Loris Baz sealing third by a similar margin ahead of Rea.
The results see Guintoli maintain top spot in the overall standings after three rounds, and the Frenchman now stands on 111 points. Laverty, Chaz Davies and Sykes all have 83 points each and occupy positions two to four, with Rea's weekend haul moving him up to fifth in the ranking.
Next up for the Championship is Monza in two weeks' time.