2018 Chang Thailand World Superbike Race One Results: It's All About Turn Three

The World Superbike Saturday race was twenty laps on a 32ºC sunny day at Thailand's Chang International circuit, next door to Buriram United's "Thunder Castle" football stadium. 

Jonathan Rea started from pole position and hit the first turn ahead of his Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes with Xavi Fores and Leon Camier contending third place behind them. At the end of the first lap, Tom Sykes took the lead from Jonathan Rea going into the last corner deep enough on the brakes to get past cleanly for first place. 

The track has a short start/finish straight with a right-handed corner at the end followed by a long straight with an almost imperceptible left-hand kink claiming to be turn two. Turn three is a right-handed hairpin at the end of the straight…ish with a few different lines through it. A few riders hit it as a double-apex hairpin, but Leon Camier tends to look like he's missing the entry as he takes a late tight entry that has a faster exit to the corner for the Honda as the run between turns three and for is the longest properly straight bit of the track, and the exit of the hairpin determines your speed onto the straight. Turn four is a fast left turn with very little opportunity to overtake, so you try to make your move at turn three and that's where Jonathan Rea took back the lead on the second lap. He held the lead through turns four to eleven, the series of corners that lead to the tight right-hander that is the last turn, turn twelve. Again, Sykes cleanly took the lead back onto the start/finish straight. 

Meanwhile, Chaz Davies worked his way up to seventh place at the end of lap two, setting the fastest lap in the process.

Lap three, turn three, Jonathan Rea, with Leon Camier snapping at his heels, stuck his bike underneath Tom Sykes' and took the lead back, with Leon Camier carrying more corner speed than either of the Kawasakis following Rea through for second place. Further back, in tenth place, Alex Lowes set the fastest lap to close up on his ninth-placed teammate Michael van der Mark. 

On the fourth lap, Xavi Fores and Marco Melandri caught up with Tom Sykes while Rea at the front set the fastest lap and had the first real gap in theta ten with eight tenths of a second over Leon Camier. Chaz Davies took sixth place from Jordi Torres. 

On lap six, Tom Sykes fell victim to turn three again, with Xavi Fores putting his Ducati in an awkward spot to take third place from the Kawasaki man. A lap later, the next man along, Marco Melandri, missed the apexes of turn three and Chaz Davies wasted no time in stealing fifth place from his teammate. 

A lap later, Davies catches and passes Tom Sykes at Sykes' favourite passing place, turn twelve. He then successfully holds off Sykes at turn three and at half race distance, he is less than a second off third-placed Xavi Fores. As Camier started closing the gap to Rea at the front to under a second, Rea sets the fastest lap and puts the lead back to over a second. 

Thirteen laps in, Xavi Fores finally gets to make a pass that works on Leon Camier, with both riders disputing the same bit of turn three. Five laps from the end, Fores breaks free of Camier while Davies closes the gap. Lap after lap, with Rea comfortably leading Fores, Davies tries to get past Camier, only to be thwarted by his rival's exceedingly good late braking and corner speed. One lap from the end, Davies finally makes a pass into turn three stick, having tried three different passing lines to Camier's three different defensive lines. 

As the flag came out, Jonathan Rea had a decent lead from Xavi Fores who had a decent lead from Chaz Davies, with Leon Camier having to settle for tomorrow's pope position with a fourth place. The fight for fifth place between Alex Lowes and Tom Sykes was won by Lowes.

Xavi Fores had his best result and increased his lead in the independent championship and moved him to third place overall, while Marco Melandri's eighth place means that Jonathan Rea's win puts Rea within two points of Melandri in the championship chase. 


Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR  
2 12 X. FORES Ducati Panigale R 1.550
3 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale R 2.118
4 2 L. CAMIER Honda CBR1000RR 2.981
5 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 7.258
6 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 7.501
7 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 8.500
8 33 M. MELANDRI Ducati Panigale R 10.184
9 50 E. LAVERTY Aprilia RSV4 RF 11.072
10 81 J. TORRES MV Agusta 1000 F4 11.178
11 76 L. BAZ BMW S 1000 RR 24.062
12 32 L. SAVADORI Aprilia RSV4 RF 24.632
13 36 L. MERCADO Kawasaki ZX-10RR 26.114
14 40 R. RAMOS Kawasaki ZX-10RR 26.142
15 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 26.320
16 68 Y. HERNANDEZ Kawasaki ZX-10RR 30.665
17 99 P. JACOBSEN Honda CBR1000RR 32.625
18 45 J. GAGNE Honda CBR1000RR 38.752
RET 37 O. JEZEK Yamaha YZF R1 16
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What is going on with Gagne and PJ?? They are better than this surely?