2018 Donington World Superbike Race One Result: The Sun Comes Out

World Superbike race one was twenty three laps of a dry race with the sun threatening to break through the grey British sky. 

Jonathan Rea, from second position on the grid, launched himself into the lead, ahead of Tom Sykes, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark with Lorenzo Savadori and Loris Baz rounding out the top six. Sykes and Rea traded places a few times as Sykes overtook Rea through the fast flowing section, but Rea took back the lead before the long straight between Coppice and the Esses and held it to the end of the lap. Michael van der Mark out-braked his Yamaha teammate Alex Lowes going into the Fogarty Esses and took third place behind the Kawasakis of Rea and Sykes. 

On the second lap, Alex Lowes in fourth place set the fastest lap as the front eleven riders were in one group but Marco Melandri dropped off the back of the group and left Chaz Davies in ninth to be the only Ducati fighting in the front group. 

On lap four, Tom Sykes charged downhill after the long first corner, into the flowing old track section of the Craner Curves, passing Rea into the not as tight as the name suggests Old Hairpin. Rea tried to take the lead back through Starkey's Bridge and McLeans, but Sykes held the lead throughout most of the remainder of the lap, round Coppice, down Starkey's Straight and through the Fogarty Esses. When the fight got to the Melbourne Loop, the first of two hairpins before the end of the lap, Sykes went wide, missing his braking point, losing first place to Rea. Michael van der Mark in third place tried to follow Rea through but Sykes closed down all the options and the trio charged to the last hairpin. 

As the leading ten became the leading nine, then eight, the places remained unchanged until Sykes made the same pass at the Old Hairpin and was side by side with Rea, almost making contact, until they settled into their places. 

Tom Sykes led Jonathan Rea and Michael van der Mark until Rea overcooked the Melbourne Loop and van der Mark took second place from him. Rea took second back at the next hairpin  and started lap eight behind Sykes once more. Alex Lowes in fourth couldn't get close enough to his Yamaha teammate to join in the fun but he was managing to keep Lorenzo Savadori convincingly at bay. 

On lap ten, Tom Sykes set the fastest lap from the lead, but he still couldn't shake off Rea and the Yamahas. A lap later, Savadori lost his grip on Lowes and the leading group was down to four riders. A lap later, Lowes dropped off the back of van der Mark, but still managed to increase his lead over Savadori. 

Jonathan Rea went through the Esses on lap thirteen with less stability than usual and missed the apex at the Melbourne Loop, giving van der Mark the opening he'd been waiting for. Van der Mark took second place and set his sights on Tom Sykes. On lap fifteen, after snapping at his heels all lap, van der Mark snuck under Sykes into the Melbourne Loop hairpin and briefly slowed down strategically to block a chance of a riposte from the Englishman. Michael van der Mark led the race on lap sixteen and as the Kawasakis took lumps out of each other behind him, with Rea trying to take advantage of a Sykes wobble at the Esses, and he started lap seventeen with a one second lead over the green bikes. 

Jonathan Rea made the pass on Sykes that Sykes had used twice before, with the pair side by side through the fast sweeping curves, but Rea managed to hold second place, a second behind van der Mark, and Rea set the fastest lap on lap eighteen while chipping into van der Mark's lead. On lap twenty one of twenty three, Rea had caught van der Mark and a lap later, van der Mark's pit board read SMOOTH as the pair wished for the other to make a mistake. 

On the last lap, Michael van der Mark missed the apex on turn one, but he was able to return to his line without conceding the lead and he was able to hold his nerve and take his first ever victory in World Superbike, the first ever for a Dutchman. Jonathan Rea took a safe second place ahead of Tom Sykes with Alex Lowes a handful of seconds further back. 

Michael van der Mark's win leapfrogged him from sixth to fourth in the championship as Marco Melandri and Xavi Fores failed to finish, Fores pitting in and Melandri low-siding at Goddards, five laps from the end and ten places from the fight. 

Jonathan Rea increases his lead in the title chase to fifty nine points from Chaz Davies with Davies only managing eighth place in spite of some last lap drama gifting him a place or two as Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu sparred at the Melbourne Loop. Tom Sykes maintains his third place, closing the gap to Davies by eight points.

Yamaha's first victory since 2011 and Michael van der Mark's first win in the series made a lot of people very happy and brought the sun out over the track.


Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1  
2 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1.136
3 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 2.193
4 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 6.642
5 32 L. SAVADORI Aprilia RSV4 RF 7.331
6 50 E. LAVERTY Aprilia RSV4 RF 13.374
7 76 L. BAZ BMW S 1000 RR 15.992
8 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale R 18.532
9 91 L. HASLAM Kawasaki ZX-10RR 20.478
10 2 L. CAMIER Honda CBR1000RR 20.634
11 81 J. TORRES MV Agusta 1000 F4 22.503
12 21 M. RINALDI Ducati Panigale R 33.250
13 36 L. MERCADO Kawasaki ZX-10RR 33.771
14 28 B. RAY Suzuki GSX-R1000 36.715
15 99 P. JACOBSEN Honda CBR1000RR 38.850
16 45 J. GAGNE Honda CBR1000RR 42.536
17 41 L. MOSSEY Kawasaki ZX-10RR 42.682
18 37 O. JEZEK Yamaha YZF R1 47.849
19 40 R. RAMOS Kawasaki ZX-10RR 50.256
20 94 N. CANEPA Yamaha YZF R1 52.188
21 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 55.588
22 33 M. MELANDRI Ducati Panigale R 1'19.859
23 44 G. REA Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'36.779
RET 12 X. FORES Ducati Panigale R 10
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Total votes: 53

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... race that I for one did not expect. Despite VDM's truly awesome win, I was reminded how remarkable the ZX10 behaves in the hands of Sykes and Rea. The way the Kawasaki can essentially shorten the track is completely opposed to the classic lines the Yamaha is forced to take. Regardless of the more conventional way the R1 strings corners together, VDM used impressively surperior corner speed and aggresion to make up for "going the long way 'round" Donington. Exciting stuff.

Total votes: 43