Kawasaki haven’t lost a World Superbike race since the track opened to international racing two years ago. Race one would be a hot twenty laps.
Jonathan Rea showed his intention to keep winning here, leading Marco Melandri, Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies into the first turn. Davies passed Sykes but Davies followed Melandri wide and Sykes slipped under both Ducatis to briefly hold second place behind his Kawasaki teammate, but Melandri snuck right back past. The Yamahas of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark watched the green and red battle in front with Eugene Laverty in seventh place behind them.
Lap two had no changes, but at the front Rea kept pushing, intending to set a hard pace and break away from the field as he knew from last year how difficult it could be to pass. He set a new lap record and put seven tenths of a second of air between himself and Melandri. A lap later, van der Mark got past Lowes and Laverty put enough of a gap between himself and the battle for eighth place that he wouldn’t be hampered by them.
Marco Melandri closed the gap up to Jonathan Rea and held on to the runaway leader for a couple of laps while Chaz Davies made a thrusting stab past Tom Sykes at turn seven and settled in a second behind his teammate. On lap five, Rea set the lap record again, with a 1'33.436, and broke Melandri’s tow.
For the next six laps, Rea eked out a few tenths from Melandri each lap while Davies, losing a tenth a lap couldn’t shake Sykes from under his shadow until lap eleven when Melandri lost a second over the lap, losing out fourteen tenths of a second to Rea in the lead and getting caught by Davies.
Chaz Davies, reawoken by the sight of his teammate in front of him, turned up his pace, looking for a pass. On lap fourteen, he stuck a pass under Melandri on turn three and tried to break free, dropping under 1’34, but it took until two laps from the end before he could get a second of freedom. Melandri, losing the clean air of Davies, lost enough pace for Sykes to close and, on the last lap, Sykes was on the Ducati’s rear Pirelli.
Jonathan Rea led Davies by six seconds and had raced every lap but the first under 1’34 and took pole position, a flag to flag win and the lap record. Wheelieing over the line cost him a few tenths and he recorded his first flying 1’34 lap of the race.
Chaz Davies took a convincing second place while Tom Sykes sought and found a way past Marco Melandri to steal the podium off the Italian and gift him pole position for the second race.
Eugene Laverty crashed out of a certain seventh place on the last lap, over eight seconds behind the Yamahas of Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes.
Jonathan Rea has now led for thirty seven of the sixty four laps he’s raced this year and won every race. The only thing that looks like it can stop his onslaught is the revised grid tomorrow where he starts ninth. Chaz Davies has been second every race and trails Rea by fifteen points.
The changes in the front three rows of the grid for tomorrow are as follows:
|1:||Melandri||van der Mark||Lowes|
|1||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10R|
|2||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R||6.279|
|3||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10R||8.165|
|4||33||M. MELANDRI||Ducati Panigale R||8.239|
|5||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||11.384|
|6||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||14.862|
|7||81||J. TORRES||BMW S 1000 RR||26.035|
|8||2||L. CAMIER||MV Agusta 1000 F4||31.755|
|9||69||N. HAYDEN||Honda CBR1000RR||33.305|
|10||6||S. BRADL||Honda CBR1000RR||35.208|
|11||12||X. FORÉS||Ducati Panigale R||35.428|
|12||88||R. KRUMMENACHER||Kawasaki ZX-10R||38.865|
|13||32||L. SAVADORI||Aprilia RSV4 RF||39.869|
|14||21||M. REITERBERGER||BMW S 1000 RR||40.140|
|15||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||47.407|
|16||15||A. DE ANGELIS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||57.203|
|17||84||R. RUSSO||Yamaha YZF R1||1'00.996|
|18||37||O. JEZEK||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1'05.330|
|RET||50||E. LAVERTY||Aprilia RSV4 RF||1 Lap|
|RET||86||A. BADOVINI||Kawasaki ZX-10R||14 Laps|