Chaz Davies has put an end to Kawasaki's hegemony in the World Superbike class, winning the first race at Aragon in convincing style.
Starting from the second row and nearly getting pushed wide in the first corner left Davies with work to do, with polesitter Tom Sykes streaking out to a lead. Sykes' Kawasaki teammate Jonathan Rea struck early, moving up to third on the first lap, behind the Yamaha of Sylvain Guintoli. Guintoli and teammate Alex Lowes had impressed in Superpole, both Pata Yamahas starting from the front row, but while Guintoli got a great start, Lowes had a nightmare, dropping well down the field.
Sykes pushed hard in the early laps, Guintoli staying with him, pulling a gap from the battle for third. Rea led that group, ahead of Davide Giugliano, Chaz Davies, and the Hondas of Michael van der Mark and Nicky Hayden. On lap two, Davies started to make his move. He pushed past his teammate, then slid through beautifully on Rea at the entry to Turn 12. Now third, he put his head down and started chasing the leaders.
The extra horsepower Ducati had extracted from new parts, including a new exhaust for the Panigale 1199R, helped Davies work his magic, taking big chunks out of Sykes and Guintoli, and within two laps, he was past and gone. Once in the lead, there was nobody who could match his pace, and Davies went on to take an utterly dominant victory at Aragon.
The excitement in the race would come from the battle for second. Guintoli would not be part of that: after a strong start, the Frenchman started dropping like a stone as his tires dropped off. It was the two Kawasaki teammates contesting for second place, Sykes' lead over Rea slowly falling as the reigning champion reeled in the 2013 champ. Once Rea caught Sykes, he tried to push to drop the Yorkshireman, but Sykes stuck with him. He could keep Rea's wheel, but not mount an attack, and Rea went on to claim second, extending his championship lead over Sykes, who crossed the line in third.
The fight behind the podium saw plenty of ups and downs. Van der Mark had crashed out in the opening laps, leaving just Nicky Hayden as the only Honda to tackle Davide Giugliano. Sylvain Guintoli tried to stay with the second factory Ducati, but the real threat came from Xavi Fores. The Spaniard, who has spent his time racing in the German IDM championship, was utterly impressive at a track which he was familiar with, fighting his way forward to beat Giugliano to claim fourth, in a tense battle which saw the pair swap places several times. Nicky Hayden clung on to finish in sixth.
Davies' victory gives him a boost in the championship, closing the gap to Tom Sykes in second to just two points. But Rea's second place meant the reigning champion kept the damage to a minimum, still leading Sykes 115 points to 82. The added competitiveness of the Ducati promises to shake up the order, though, especially with Xavi Fores and Davide Giugliano making it three Ducatis in the top five.
|1||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati 1199 Panigale R||1'50.421||312,1|
|2||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10R||4.168||1'51.141||311,2|
|3||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10R||4.948||1'51.361||303,4|
|4||12||X. FORÉS||Ducati 1199 Panigale R||12.723||1'51.308||304,2|
|5||34||D. GIUGLIANO||Ducati 1199 Panigale R||13.151||1'51.205||306,8|
|6||69||N. HAYDEN||Honda CBR1000RR SP||21.117||1'51.453||313,0|
|7||81||J. TORRES||BMW S1000 RR||22.112||1'51.748||313,0|
|8||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||25.575||1'51.502||306,8|
|9||50||S. GUINTOLI||Yamaha YZF R1||28.941||1'51.336||306,8|
|10||32||L. SAVADORI||Aprilia RSV4 RF||34.956||1'52.871||308,6|
|11||15||A. DE ANGELIS||Aprilia RSV4 RF||35.075||1'52.628||311,2|
|12||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||37.310||1'52.285||299,2|
|13||25||J. BROOKES||BMW S1000 RR||37.442||1'53.031||303,4|
|14||21||M. REITERBERGER||BMW S1000 RR||37.731||1'52.523||311,2|
|15||17||K. ABRAHAM||BMW S1000 RR||52.270||1'53.179||305,9|
|16||20||S. BARRIER||Kawasaki ZX-10R||56.295||1'53.804||302,5|
|17||94||M. LUSSIANA||BMW S1000 RR||1'07.602||1'53.678||297,5|
|18||9||D. SCHMITTER||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1'35.691||1'55.561||292,7|
|19||56||P. SEBESTYÉN||Yamaha YZF R1||1'35.746||1'55.216||292,7|
|20||10||I. TÓTH||Yamaha YZF R1||1 Lap||1'58.905||289,5|
|RET||11||S. AL SULAITI||Kawasaki ZX-10R||2 Laps|
|RET||151||M. BAIOCCO||Ducati 1199 Panigale R||5 Laps|
|RET||16||J. HOOK||Kawasaki ZX-10R||5 Laps|
|RET||2||L. CAMIER||MV Agusta 1000 F4||9 Laps|
|RET||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Honda CBR1000RR SP||15 Laps|