At the last World Superbike race before the summer holiday, the good weather turned up and decided to stay.
The reverse grid put Michael van der Mark in pole position, alongside Tom Sykes and Xavi Fores, but it was Fores who got the better start, cutting across the track from third place to take the lead into the first turn. Jonathan Rea improved his position with a decent start, leaping three places forward to slot in behind Marco Melandri and Lorenzo Savadori. Rea passed Savadori, but it was Chaz Davies who made the best progress, passing three riders, including Rea, to take fifth place from the world champ. On the second lap, the two Aruba.it Ducatis swapped places back and forth as they disputed fourth place while Rea set the fastest lap.
On the third lap, Chaz Davies tried to line Marco Melandri up for a pass, but ended up swapping places with Jonathan Rea a couple of times, Davies coming out the winner at turn eight. Xavi Fores, holding off Michael van der Mark and Tom Sykes at the front of the race, suddenly sat up and coasted off the track, suffering a technical issue and ending his weekend, and not for the first time.
Michael van der Mark led lap four, ahead of Tom Sykes and Marco Melandri as Chaz Davies and Jonathan Rea continued to let the leading three break away as they fought for fourth place. At turn fourteen, Rea made an aggressive move, pushing the pair wide, but without incident. A lap later, Marco Melandri, no longer being harassed from a rider behind, suckered Tom Sykes at turn eight and took second place from the Kawasaki man. Jonathan Rea set the fastest lap while catching his teammate and started looking for a way past.
On lap six, Rea tried to make his customary turn fourteen pass, but Sykes's strength on the brakes meant Rea had to abort his passing attempt, nearly running into Sykes. A lap later, he tried a different tactic, exiting the left-handed turn two wide with what looked like too much speed, only to end up right on the apex of turn three, the right-handed second-half of the chicane, blocking Sykes from passing. Rea held second place and once again set the fastest lap.
On lap eight, Marco Melandri and Jonathan Rea gave Michael van der Mark a break as they fought between themselves, Rea having put enough of a gap between himself and Tom Sykes to try to duel for second place. Melandri went wide enough at turn five for Rea to take second place but Melandri put his Ducati back in second place at turn eight and the pair rode side-by-side for the latter section of the lap, but Melandri held second place until the next lap. On lap nine, Rea tried to pass at turn four, but couldn't get past until turn six. Melandri watched Rea predictably overshoot turn six and flicked his bike underneath Rea's to take second back into turn seven and the fight continued. When Rea got to turn fourteen, he made his move and neatly pushed past Melandri to take second place and he held it for the remainder of the lap.
At the start of lap ten, Rea was a second and a half behind Michael van der Mark and had Marco Melandri, Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies behind him, the leading five around a second clear of a fight between Alex Lowes and Lorenzo Savadori. Davies worked his way to fourth place past Sykes into turn one while Rea set the first 1'34 lap of the race to slice three tenths of a second from van der Mark's lead and a lap later, he finally broke free from dragging Melandri along with him and began to close in on van der Mark.
From lap twelve to lap sixteen, the four riders behind van der Mark all looked like they had settled into their positions, with gaps between each other that looked like the race would become a boring processional affair that was settled at half race distance, but on lap sixteen, Rea started looking for a way to win. He first tried to do the turn three move he used to pass Tom Sykes, but Michael van der Mark wasn't falling for it. Marco Melandri was then the fastest rider on track and he closed up to the fight for the win. A lap later, Chaz Davies was quickest, but he couldn't catch the leading three, with the action happening over a second ahead of him.
Three laps from the end, Jonathan Rea surprised Michael van der Mark into the chicane entry of turn two, taking a tight line instead of the wide line van der Mark had successfully thwarted a few laps before. Rea held the tighter line and was able to cut across the Yamaha's nose to hold the lead.
Three different bikes, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Ducati, fought for the lead over the remaining laps, but were all equally balanced at the sharp end and Jonathan Rea held the lead to the flag, winning his tenth victory of the year ahead of Michael van der Mark and Marco Melandri.
Jonathan Rea dedicated his win to William Dunlop, the Northern Irish racer of the Dunlop dynasty who died yesterday practicing for the Skerries 100 road race.
With this win, Jonathan Rea extended his lead in the championship to ninety two points over Chaz Davies, whose fourth place allowed second-placed Michael van der Mark to close to within thirty points of second place in the championship. Marco Melandri's third place put him on equal points to Alex Lowes, fifth place in the championship and only twenty five points off Tom Sykes's fourth place.
World Superbike will now take a ten week break for summer and returns in September, with the Portimão round starting on September 14th.
|1||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|2||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||0.334|
|3||33||M. MELANDRI||Ducati Panigale R||0.595|
|4||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R||2.382|
|5||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||4.535|
|6||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||6.559|
|7||32||L. SAVADORI||Aprilia RSV4 RF||7.193|
|8||50||E. LAVERTY||Aprilia RSV4 RF||9.972|
|9||76||L. BAZ||BMW S 1000 RR||13.874|
|10||2||L. CAMIER||Honda CBR1000RR||14.047|
|11||21||M. RINALDI||Ducati Panigale R||26.003|
|12||54||T. RAZGATLIOGLU||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||28.886|
|13||94||N. CANEPA||Yamaha YZF R1||33.758|
|14||45||J. GAGNE||Honda CBR1000RR||34.751|
|15||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||36.892|
|16||68||Y. HERNANDEZ||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||36.983|
|17||36||L. MERCADO||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||56.465|
|RET||99||P. JACOBSEN||Honda CBR1000RR||2 Laps|
|RET||24||A. ANDREOZZI||Yamaha YZF R1||6 Laps|
|RET||12||X. FORES||Ducati Panigale R||19 Laps|
|RET||81||J. TORRES||MV Agusta 1000 F4||19 Laps|