Eighteen laps at a dry Italian speed track that rewards a clear head and a fast bike.
Tom Sykes got the hole shot, but this is Monza where the first chicane is some distance from the start line and he was drafted into prima variante (an unimaginative Italian for first chicane) by both Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty. Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli stuck with the front men, making the first two laps a pack of five breaking away until Jonathan Rea had a hiccough that caused him to drop off the front pack and into the clutches of a fight between Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano.
At the front, Laverty, Melandri, Guintoli and Sykes broke away and drafted, thrust and cut for lap after lap, with few errors, apart from Sykes having to run through the second chicane once. While the front four settled in to what would be a race-long duel, the second group comprised Davies, Rea and Giugliano, while Jules Cluzel tried to close the gap to join in the fun.
As Cluzel closed up to seventh place on the fifth lap, he misjudged his braking and ran through the prima variante, not obeying the exit lanes, much like Max Biaggi did two years ago, and he earned himself a ride-through penalty, ending his charge for the front. Giugliano also ran on at the same place a few laps later, but he followed the rules and was able to keep racing, but he dropped off Davies and Rea. A lap later, Rea make the same mistake and was deposited behind a charging Leon Camier who then cut a corner, catching Rea out, pushing him into a run-off, disrupting his race once more, but not as much as the decision he would have to drop back two places as he was deemed to have gained places in one of the incidents.
The front four looked at times like they would split into two groups, but every time two riders broke away, every one of them leading the race at some point, the remaining two would catch them back up, until the pace lifted and Sylvain Guintoli was dropped off the front three as his tyre appeared spent. Two laps from the end, Tom Sykes took his turn at the front and made a break for the flag, placing a respectable gap behind him, but as he exited the Ascari chicane, he was able to see Laverty and Melandri on the spectator's big screen close the gap.
On the last lap, Marco Melandri took to the lead before the Lesmo curves only to be passed back by Eugene Laverty at the Ascari chicane. As they approached the fast sweeping Parabolica corner, the last corner before the finish line, Eugene Laverty saw Melandri's BMW and allowed a little gap, knowing Melandri would force a less safe one if he didn't, and Melandri took the inside under Eugene Laverty. Marco Melandri feared that Laverty would switch back to the inside and power out to the line, but luckily for him, he had created a large enough gap for Tom Sykes to push his Kawasaki past Laverty's Aprilia, saving Melandri's line.
As all three riders took sliding lines out of the Parabolica, they crossed the finish line at different points, but Marco Melandri won by a few hundredths ahead of Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty.
Monza - FIM Superbike World Championship - Race 1
1. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 30'54.925
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 30'55.010
3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 30'55.032
4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 30'56.769
5. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 31'02.554
6. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 31'03.332
7. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 31'10.480
8. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 31'11.390
9. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 31'11.593
10. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 31'21.745
11. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 31'33.833
12. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 31'33.876
13. Fabrizio Lai (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 31'47.713
14. Kosuke Akiyoshi (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 31'50.814
15. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 31'50.931
16. Mark Aitchison (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 31'51.752
17. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 31'54.470
RT. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 14'33.976