World Superbike was twenty three laps of a rapidly cooling Donington Park, held after a minute's silence for Nicky Hayden where press and fans took to the grid to pay their respects.
Chaz Davies got an excellent start, charging past the two Kawasakis to lead into the first corner. Marco Melandri was fourth behind Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea. Eugene Laverty caught a bit of traffic and was pushed out to the edge of the corner by Leon Haslam, forcing Alex Lowes onto the kerbing and putting Lowes dead last, avoiding Laverty.
Sykes and Rea swapped places back and forth but errors by Davies at the two hairpins at the end of the lap allowed them to close back up and start the second lap together. Rea made a clean pass at the Old Hairpin, the corner that hasn't been a hairpin since 1935, in the fast flowing section of the track, taking second place from his teammate. Tom Sykes made a mistake and let Leon Haslam through into third place.
On the third lap, Chaz Davies and Jonathan Rea broke free of the third place battle. Tom Sykes caught Leon Haslam and followed him through the Foggy Esses, squeezing underneath him at the Melbourne Loop hairpin and holding his lead over Haslam through Goddards onto the starting grid.
On the fourth lap, Davies started to escape from Rea while the leading pair left Sykes in a lonely third place. Leon Haslam in fourth place led Leandro Mercado and Marco Melandri by over two seconds.
Chaz Davies continued to lead Rea by almost a second until the seventh lap where, after the first hairpin, Davies crashed out into Goddards, the second hairpin. Jonathan Rea look over the lead and had a two second gap over Tom Sykes, but after Rea made a small error at Goddards, Sykes was able to close in a few tenths.
Meanwhile, Alex Lowes had carved through the field to climb up to tenth place. Chaz Davies rejoined in seventeenth place.
Another lap and another few tenths closer for Tom Sykes and finally, further back, Marco Melandri was finally able to pass Leandro Mercado at Redgate corner for fourth place, over three seconds behind Leon Haslam.
Tom Sykes sat behind Jonathan Rea until the end of lap fourteen where Sykes closed in and wedged under Rea into the Melbourne Loop, holding the lead until precisely one corner later where Sykes's wide line into the final corner let Rea past back into the lead.
The two Kawasakis carried on formation flying, even recording identical lap times on lap sixteen, and on the eighteenth of twenty three laps, Tom Sykes made the same pass at the Melbourne Loop hairpin only to close the door firmly on Jonathan Rea's riposte at Goddards, solidly holding the lead across the line.
As lap nineteen unfolded, Sykes was clearing off at several tenths a sector, crossing the line to start lap twenty with his crew holding out a pit board telling him that he's cleared off to the tune of a second and a half. It was more than that.
On lap twenty, Jonathan Rea was dropping back at the rate of around a second a sector, with Leon Haslam over eleven seconds behind but closing. A lap later, almost four seconds slower than Tom Sykes, it was clear something was up with Rea's bike and, as Rea turned into Craner Curves, his bike spat him off violently, ending his race. Tom Sykes crossed the line to start the penultimate lap to see a wildly gesticulating crew member pointing to a double-digit lead on his pitboard. Sykes led Haslam by over fifteen seconds.
Alex Lowes had pushed from last to fourth place and could see Marco Melandri less than two seconds ahead of him. At the start of the lap, he was in fourth place just over a second behind third.
Tom Sykes won his ninth consecutive victory at Donington Park by over sixteen seconds ahead of the British Superbike championship leader Leon Haslam. In third place, Marco Melandri exited the Melbourne Loop too wide and ended up on the grass and unable to get back onto the tarmac quickly, only to see Alex Lowes barreling past into Goddards, stealing third place from him and securing the first non-Kawasaki, non-Ducati podium place of 2017.
Tom Sykes sits fifty points behind Jonathan Rea in the title chase, passing Chaz Davies whose eighth place, in spite of his crash, only got him eight points. Marco Melandri and Alex Lowes remain in fourth and fifth places respectively.
Marco Melandri starts race two tomorrow from pole position, ahead of Michael van der Mark and Leon Camier. Jonathan Rea starts from tenth place.
|1||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|2||91||L. HASLAM||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||16.500|
|3||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||19.170|
|4||33||M. MELANDRI||Ducati Panigale R||19.699|
|5||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||21.454|
|6||2||L. CAMIER||MV Agusta 1000 F4||23.376|
|7||36||L. MERCADO||Aprilia RSV4 RF||24.979|
|8||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R||26.988|
|9||81||J. TORRES||BMW S 1000 RR||34.910|
|10||12||X. FORÉS||Ducati Panigale R||35.178|
|11||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||38.585|
|12||32||L. SAVADORI||Aprilia RSV4 RF||39.824|
|13||50||E. LAVERTY||Aprilia RSV4 RF||44.623|
|14||88||R. KRUMMENACHER||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||52.539|
|15||35||R. DE ROSA||BMW S 1000 RR||58.875|
|16||86||A. BADOVINI||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1'03.994|
|17||15||A. DE ANGELIS||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1'06.816|
|18||37||O. JEZEK||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1'14.800|
|RET||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||3 Laps|
|RET||6||S. BRADL||Honda CBR1000RR||7 Laps|
|RET||84||R. RUSSO||Yamaha YZF R1||7 Laps|
|RET||27||J. DIXON||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||9 Laps|