The World Superbike weekend attracted 37,039 fans, continuing the year-on-year increases in attendance, and the last race of the weekend didn't disappoint.
Riders would not have the rear V0602 development solution (option A) Pirelli tyre as Jonathan Rea's rear tyre deflated during the race yesterday and Pirelli wanted to play it safe, pulling the new tyre from the pool.
Marco Melandri, another rider who used the V0602 yesterday, launched himself into the lead on the first lap but after lots of jostling for the entire lap, the reversed grid putting faster riders amongst slower ones on the flowing track, Leandro Mercado came out the winner ahead of a determined Jonathan Rea who had started the race in tenth position. Leon Haslam and Michael van der Mark also asserted themselves on Marco Melandri who ended the first lap in fifth position, ahead of his Ducati stablemate Chaz Davies.
Jonathan Rea continued his charge to make short work of the difficult-to-pass Leandro Mercado who then had Leon Haslam snapping at his heels behind him.
Lap three, Rea crossed the line first but behind him, Mercado lost control of his bike, sliding out of Goddards only to save it and recover from his crash right into the path of Leon Haslam. Haslam with nowhere to go crashed opposite the pit entrance, and pushing Chaz Davies out of his place to be overtaken by the majority of the grid, recovering in fifteenth place. Mercado recovered in third place only to get passed by Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes to end the lap in fifth place while Haslam walked across the track to his garage.
Jonathan Rea led Michael van der Mark by two seconds with Marco Melandro and Tom Sykes over a second further back, but as Sykes closed in on Melandri, the Italian increased his pace and started closing the gap to van der Mark ahead.
As the race behind Rea became a battle for second place, Sykes struck, passing Melandri at the Melbourne Loop hairpin after stringing together a fast run through the Foggy Esses. It took Sykes two more laps to pass van der Mark, taking second place from him with a sly pass into and out of Mcleans, the sweeping right-hander that leads onto the long and hilly run to the Foggy Esses. Sykes led van der Mark and Melandri and started to break free. Behind the fight for third, Alex Lowes snatched fifth place from Leandro Mercado and stared down a two second gap to Marco Melandri.
On lap ten, Jonathan Rea at the front had a four second gap from Tom Sykes as Sykes no longer had anyone to worry him behind.
This would be the largest gap Rea would see all race. A lap later, it was under three and a half seconds.
Marco Melandri, looking for a way past van der Mark, suddenly pulled off the track exiting Mcleans, his chain flapping uselessly by his rear wheel. His race was over and van der Mark had two seconds of gap each direction, with Alex Lowes and Leandro Mercado being joined by Chaz Davies behind him.
The three-way battle for fourth place became a two-way battle as Mercado messed up his entry into the Foggy Esses and chucked his Aprilia across the gravel, giving Alex Lowes a minute's breathing room as Chaz Davies lost a few tenths negotiating the forlorn bike and its associated gravel.
By lap twelve, Chaz Davies had caught Alex Lowes and the pair started their duel for fourth place. By lap fourteen, Tom Sykes in second place had closed the gap to Jonathan Rea to just three seconds, setting the fastest lap in the process. Another few laps, with attrition dropping the number of contestants to fourteen, guaranteeing any finisher points, Sykes set another fastest lap and was staring at a two and a half second gap.
On lap fifteen, Chaz Davies passed Alex Lowes. Michael van der Mark was two and a half seconds ahead of him.
By lap nineteen, with another fastest lap under his belt, Sykes was less than two seconds from Rea and Davies was less than two seconds from van der Mark.
With three laps to go, Davies had closed in on van der Mark and at the end of the penultimate lap, Davies took his customary wide fast line around the Melbourne Loop and used the Ducati Panigale's drive to put himself on the inside into Goddards, the last hairpin. Van der Mark had no answer and spent a lap trying to take him back.
Tom Sykes, realising that he couldn't catch Jonathan Rea, stopped pushing as hard and settled for a clean second place. Rea crossed the line almost two seconds clear of his teammate, breaking Sykes's run of victories at Donington, ending the streak at nine races. Chaz Davies took third place, restoring the Ducati/Kawasaki-only podium.
Jonathan Rea, suffering his only DNF of the year yesterday, leaves the UK with losing twenty points to his teammate and championship rival Tom Sykes, reducing his lead to fifty five points. Chaz Davies remains in third place.
|1||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|2||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1.601|
|3||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R||12.200|
|4||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||12.984|
|5||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||18.953|
|6||2||L. CAMIER||MV Agusta 1000 F4||23.971|
|7||12||X. FORÉS||Ducati Panigale R||29.892|
|8||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||44.742|
|9||27||J. DIXON||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||50.622|
|10||35||R. DE ROSA||BMW S 1000 RR||51.749|
|11||6||S. BRADL||Honda CBR1000RR||59.459|
|12||84||R. RUSSO||Yamaha YZF R1||1'12.794|
|13||37||O. JEZEK||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1'22.719|
|14||86||A. BADOVINI||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||5 Laps|
|RET||32||L. SAVADORI||Aprilia RSV4 RF||8 Laps|
|RET||33||M. MELANDRI||Ducati Panigale R||15 Laps|
|RET||36||L. MERCADO||Aprilia RSV4 RF||15 Laps|
|RET||81||J. TORRES||BMW S 1000 RR||18 Laps|
|RET||50||E. LAVERTY||Aprilia RSV4 RF||20 Laps|
|RET||15||A. DE ANGELIS||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||21 Laps|
|RET||91||L. HASLAM||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||22 Laps|
|RET||88||R. KRUMMENACHER||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|