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Nicky Hayden remembered as Tom Sykes clinches opening race at Donington

Tom Sykes claimed his ninth consecutive Donington Park victory on an emotional afternoon when Superbike fans paid tribute to former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden.

American Hayden died at the age of 35 in an Italian hospital last Monday following a cycling accident on the Rimini coastline.

There was a minute's silence before the opening race of the UK round of the Superbike World Championship on Saturday, with Hayden's bike and helmet standing on the start/finish straight at Donington.

Hundreds of fans gathered by the side of the track for the ceremony before bursting in to applause at the end of it.

When the action did begin, there was high drama with provisional leader Chaz Davies going down in the early stages at turn 12 after he lost the front end of his bike.

Davies picked his Ducati up to rejoin the race and eventually finished eighth, but the result will be a big blow to the Welshman's world title aspirations.

Jonathan Rea led with six laps to go, but his Kawasaki Racing team-mate Sykes overtook him and quickly opened up a two-second lead on the championship leader.

And Rea was denied a podium finish when he crashed out of the race, although the Northern Irishman was soon back on his feet and taken back to the pits on a scooter.

Sykes finished in style to continue his Donington domination and cut Rea's championship lead to 50 points, with wildcard Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) making it an all-British podium.

The second race of the championship's UK round will be held on Sunday afternoon.

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