For the last race of the weekend, World Superbike race two, the wind was lower than it has been most of the weekend. Twenty laps would determine the winner with the reverse grid putting some interesting names at the front. Stefan Bradl was unable to start due to a wrist injury from his crash yesterday.
Michael van der Mark got off the line very well from the middle of the front row, and looked like he would lead into the first turn, but pole man Leon Camier was stronger on the brakes on the outside line and took the lead into the first turn and held it. Eight places further back, Jonathan Rea was starting to work through the field, making tough passes on anyone in his way. Taking third place from Eugene Laverty near the end of the lap, he passed Van der Mark down the straight to begin lap two and started looking for a way past Leon Camier at the front.
Rea tried to pass Camier into turn five but Camier was strong on the brakes and Rea had to wait until turn eleven before he could make a pass stick.
Lap three and, from ninth place on the grid, Jonathan Rea was in first place having set the fastest lap on lap two for the second race in a row. In second place, being hounded by Eugene Laverty, Leon Camier’s MV Agusta, like a mechanic at the back of a garage between sessions, started puffing out a few clouds of smoke. As Laverty passed Camier, Chaz Davies was the next rider in line to see Camier’s bike on the woodbines and he wasted no time in getting past. Marco Melandri, a few bikes further back, then made a mistake and put himself back to ninth place.
Lap six, and Chaz Davies was visibly held up by Eugene Laverty. The Ducati was quicker through the corners, but when there’s an Aprilia in the way, that speed doesn’t mean much. Davies kept trying but eventually had to pass at the easiest spot, down the straight and into turn one.
Chaz Davies was over three seconds behind Jonathan Rea, and the race was only seven laps young.
On lap eight, Alex Lowes had a high side crash at turn thirteen, with the bike spitting him into the middle of the track. Lowes crawled behind his bike, lying in the inside of the exit to a corner, and lay down until the marshals got him and the bike off the track. There was no red flag. Racing continued. Jonathan Rea, leading the race, lost footing on his bike and recovered a minor twitch caused by either the wind or the electronics issue that would plague him later on, messing with the wheelie control and second gear power in some sectors of the track.
A lap later and Leon Camier pulled off the track from sixth place with a mechanical issue, retiring his bike at the end of the straight and ending what could have been his best weekend of the season. Marco Melandri inherited sixth place behind Xavi Fores who then crashed out on the first couple of turns giving Melandri fifth place behind Michael van der Mark and Eugene Laverty’s battle for third place.
At half race distance, Van der Mark passed Laverty down the straight and into turn one, leaving Laverty to cause trouble for Melandri. All lap, Melandri tried to find a way past Laverty, just like his teammate did five laps before. Every time he closed up, he found his line blocked and had to roll off the power. he finally passed Laverty only to have Laverty pass him back down the straight after Melandri’s rear tyre protested when the power was applied out of the last corner. Laverty spent the entirety of lap twelve riding a defensive line like it was the last lap, and when Melandri did get past, Laverty was right back at him.
Turn one of lap fourteen and Marco Melandri finally made a pass on Eugene Laverty that stuck. Laverty kept in his wake and tried to get fourth place back, but the Ducati had more grip and more corner speed.
And so the race played out. Jonathan Rea managed a lead of over four seconds and kept his electronic issues under control while Chaz Davies just kept staring at the gap, unable to close it. Michael van der Mark in third place, profiting from Marco Melandri’s inability to pass Eugene Laverty, had over two seconds of fresh air behind him and what looked like a safe podium as the laps ticked down.
And then, three laps from the end, disaster struck.
Chaz Davies just hit a routine bump on turn two and lost control of his bike, the front sliding away, and the pair slid into the gravel. Davies walked away, visibly angry at himself, bashing his head, an action he repeated later in his garage, without his helmet.
Jonathan Rea got notified of this on his pit board. An eight second lead over Michael van der Mark with Chaz Davies out and only two laps to go. He kept the pace up for a whole lap bot as the last lap ticked down, he couldn’t hide his pleasure, patting the tank of his loyal Kawasaki before turning the last turn and crossing the line on its rear wheel. Thirty four victories for Rea on the Kawasaki and his fourth double of the year. Michael van der Mark finished second and thanked Pirelli for pulling the tyre he was planning on using; his last podium thwarted by an unsafe tyre but this one was tested before racing and let him get the podium he deserved.
Marco Melandri finishing in third place was a consolation for Ducati, but this was Chaz Davies’s chance to take second place from Tom Sykes and it hadn’t happened.
Jonathan Rea set the fastest lap on lap four and put himself out of reach in the Pirelli fastest lap challenge. He also put himself one hundred and twenty points clear of Tom Sykes in the championship, with only three weekends of racing and a hundred and fifty points remaining.
Michael van der Mark passed Xavi Fores for sixth place in the championship ahead of his MotoGP debut on Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha next weekend in Aragon. On his first weekend of World Superbike racing, Takumi Takahashi finished in tenth place, improving his first result by five places.
|1||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|2||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||5.834|
|3||33||M. MELANDRI||Ducati Panigale R||9.201|
|4||50||E. LAVERTY||Aprilia RSV4 RF||12.792|
|5||81||J. TORRES||BMW S 1000 RR||15.943|
|6||32||L. SAVADORI||Aprilia RSV4 RF||19.359|
|7||36||L. MERCADO||Aprilia RSV4 RF||23.286|
|8||13||A. WEST||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||36.982|
|9||86||A. BADOVINI||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||48.544|
|10||72||T. TAKAHASHI||Honda CBR1000RR||50.000|
|11||37||O. JEZEK||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||51.944|
|12||121||A. ANDREOZZI||Yamaha YZF R1||56.705|
|13||12||X. FORÉS||Ducati Panigale R||1'07.518|
|14||84||R. RUSSO||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1 Lap|
|15||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||4 Laps|
|RET||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R||3 Laps|
|RET||2||L. CAMIER||MV Agusta 1000 F4||11 Laps|
|RET||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||13 Laps|
|RET||35||R. DE ROSA||BMW S 1000 RR||17 Laps|