Eighteen laps around a windy Motorland Aragon, would the reversed grid play a part? Ondrej Jezek was deemed unfit to start after suffering a concussion yesterday.
Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark and Eugene Laverty hit the front first, with Laverty briefly sitting in second place from the second row of the grid before van der Mark took it back. Tom Sykes, Marco Melandri and Jonathan Rea all had very strong starts, jumping from the third row to fourth to sixth places very quickly on the first lap. Laverty lost a few places before the end of the lap and by the end of the first lap, Chaz Davies had caught up as well and the Kawasakis and Ducatis occupied the first four places behind the two Yamahas.
Jonathan Rea took second place from van der Mark early on, setting the fastest lap in the process, and at the end of the second lap, Marco Melandri passed Tom Sykes on the inside of turns fifteen and sixteen to start the third lap in fourth place. Davies passed Sykes, pushing the Kawasaki to sixth place, and on the fourth lap, Rea took the lead from Lowes. At the end of the lap, at the end of the straight, Melandri also passed Lowes to take second place.
On lap six, the front five of Rea, Melandri, Lowes, van der Mark and Davies started to break away from a lonely Sykes who himself had a gap back to an equally lonely Leandro Mercado and the fight a few seconds behind him.
The wind meant that nobody could make a break from the pack and the front five remained a tight group for several laps with no change apart from Davies passing van der Mark into turn one of lap eight and passing Lowes at the end, in a carbon copy of the move Melandri made four laps prior, setting the fastest lap in the process. On lap ten, Davies, the fastest man in the bunch, started hounding Melandri for second place and into the first turn of lap eleven, he passed him and settled in behind Rea. Later that lap, Lowes missed his braking on turn thirteen and ran off, rejoining in thirteenth place and turning the front five into a front four. A lap later, the front three of Rea, Davies and Melandri dropped van der Mark off and, on lap thirteen, Davies passed Rea into turn one for the lead. Melandri tried to make the most of it later on the lap, sitting in Rea’s rear wheel, but he couldn’t pass down the straight, in spite of having a bike capable of 325.3Km/h earlier in the race.
On lap fifteen, Tom Sykes started to catch Michael van der Mark, and Marco Melandri started catching Jonathan Rea, getting into the right place to drive past Rea down the back straight and passing him in his favourite spot, into turn sixteen at the end of the long straight. Rea took second place back after crossing the line, and the front two set a punishing pace on the penultimate lap. Davies set the fastest lap with Rea sat behind him. Sykes caught and passed van der Mark for fourth place and the last lap started.
Chaz Davies led Jonathan Rea as the two were over a second and a half clear of Marco Melandri, with Tom Sykes a further eight seconds back. Halfway round the lap, Davies continued his punishing pace, but his lead was eroded as his bike bit him in the middle of the chicane of turns twelve and thirteen but Rea wasn’t able to capitalise for a pass.
Exiting turn fourteen, Jonathan Rea made a lunge for the inside line into turn fifteen, the corner that leads to the long straight, but he overcooked it, nearly crashed and had to straighten top briefly. Davies kept his smooth inside line and pushed under Rea, killing Rea’s mid corner momentum, and he used the superior drive out of corners of the Ducati Panigale to charge down the straight in the lead.
Chaz Davies held the line into the last corner and crossed the line almost half a second, a lifetime in this year’s contests, ahead of Jonathan Rea, breaking Rea’s unbroken run of wins and taking Ducati’s first win of the year. Marco Melandri finished in third place two seconds further behind, continuing Ducati and Kawasaki’s dominance of the podium. Tom Sykes finished in fourth, just to make sure the two marques split the laurels, the second race of the year with all four Ducati and Kawasaki riders in the top four places.
Davies took second place in the championship from Sykes with his win, sitting fifty points behind Rea. Melandri remained in fourth place ahead of Lowes, whose three points this race didn’t affect his championship place.
This was the third race with the revised grid formation and its the third race where the grid made no difference to the podium. We still ended up with a last lap fight between the top two guys, unhampered by slower riders.
|1||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R|
|2||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10R||0.483|
|3||33||M. MELANDRI||Ducati Panigale R||2.479|
|4||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10R||10.562|
|5||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||13.336|
|6||12||X. FORÉS||Ducati Panigale R||16.951|
|7||81||J. TORRES||BMW S 1000 RR||18.638|
|8||36||L. MERCADO||Aprilia RSV4 RF||18.700|
|9||50||E. LAVERTY||Aprilia RSV4 RF||21.290|
|10||2||L. CAMIER||MV Agusta 1000 F4||22.246|
|11||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||24.307|
|12||6||S. BRADL||Honda CBR1000RR||25.829|
|13||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||26.611|
|14||88||R. KRUMMENACHER||Kawasaki ZX-10R||40.575|
|15||3||J. SIMON||Aprilia RSV4 RF||40.769|
|16||21||M. REITERBERGER||BMW S 1000 RR||40.915|
|17||86||A. BADOVINI||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1'00.980|
|RET||15||A. DE ANGELIS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||5 Laps|
|RET||84||R. RUSSO||Yamaha YZF R1||6 Laps|
|RET||69||N. HAYDEN||Honda CBR1000RR||7 Laps|