World Superbike had a new Pirelli tyre that the front row all loaded on to their bikes as the grid was expanded by the return of Loris Baz on the Ten Kate Yamaha. Tommy Bridewell once again replaced Eugene Laverty while Leon Camier's Honda was ridden by Yuki Takahashi. The new surface offered more grip and the lap record was certain to fall.
Jonathan Rea led from the lights, ahead of Alvaro Bautista. Alex Lowes came around the outside of Marco Melandri, bouncing off the Italian to take third place from him. At the exit of turn four, Bautista powered past Rea to take the lead and try to make a run for it. At the end of the lap, Melandri got mugged by the other quick Yamaha, conceding fourth place to Michael van der Mark.
On the second lap, Alvaro Bautista broke the lap record as he escaped from the pack with only Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes able to keep up. A lap later, with Marco Melandri losing another place and entering a race-long duel with Toprak Razgatlioglu, the top three started splitting up, with Bautista starting lap four almost a second clear of Rea who had over a second gap to Lowes behind him. As Melandri and Razgatlioglu swapped places again, Michael van der Mark reeled in his teammate Lowes and stuck in a clean pass on him.
By lap five, having built over two seconds gap from the Yamahas behind him, Rea started losing time to the bikes behind at the middle of the lap and van der Mark started closing at a rate of three tenths of a second a lap while Bautista escaped at the front.
By lap eight, van der Mark and Lowes closed the gap to Rea and at turn five, van der Mark lined up a pass coming out of the corner, catching and passing Rea's Kawasaki down the back straight and holding second place into turn six. A lap later, Lowes started probing for a way past Rea as the Yamahas still had pace in places the Kawasaki was losing out on. Rea went wide at turn four and Lowes stepped through the open door. Lowes then went wide at turn five, letting Rea past into turn six. At the Jorge Lorenzo corner, turn thirteen, the long hairpin that has been the site of many dramatic passes in World Superbike and MotoGP, Alex Lowes undramatically took the last podium spot from Rea.
As Alvaro Bautista did an Alvaro Bautista impersonation at the front, adding four to six tenths of a second to his gap from Michael van der Mark at the front, Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea fought a battle for third over three seconds behind the settled podium places ahead. On lap fourteen, Rea took third rough the right-hander at turn nine, with Lowes having to wait until turn one of lap sixteen to take third back, building off a fast line out of turn thirteen while Rea took a more defensive line. On the straight between turns five and six, Rea took the place back, but Lowes put himself back in podium contention at thirteen again.
On the last lap, with Alvaro Bautista eight seconds clear of Michael van der Mark who was almost five seconds clear of the scrap for third place, Jonathan Rea closed in on Alex Lowes at turn eight, but couldn't make any of the usual passes work and had to rely on the last corner of the last lap at Jerez.
As Bautista took the flag and van der Mark finished second, the battle for third reached turn thirteen. Alex Lowes started a fast sweeping line, leaving a little bit of a gap for Jonathan Rea to lunge unto. As Rea entered the turn, he was ahead of Lowes as he missed the apex, not having enough tyre left to make the move he attempted, he clipped Lowes's left elbow with his shin, removing Lowes's glove and any grip the front tyre had, sending Lowes and his bike into the gravel. Rea knew when he missed the tight trajectory that something was up, glancing across to see Lowes in exactly the wrong spot. Rea apologised, looking back and waving to Lowes as he made his way round the corner to take third place.
Race direction immediately opened an inquest and, as Rea went to apologise to Yamaha on the way to Parc Fermé, the blue team had to hold an angry young lady back as she approached a very emotional Rea. In the interviews, Rea said he was really sorry and that his thoughts were with Alex Lowes. His return to Parc Fermé started with him just holding his helmet-clad head in his gloved hands, but ended with his being awarded third place.
Alvaro Bautista extended his lead at the top of the championship to fifty two points over Jonathan Rea while Michael van der Mark took third place in the title race from his unfortunate teammate Alex Lowes.
Update: Rea has been penalised, losing one place in the race one standings, promoting Marc Melandri to the podium, and being demoted to the back of the grid in tomorrow's Superpole race. This grid demotion places Alex Lowes on the front row for tomorrow's sprint race.
|1||19||A. BAUTISTA||Ducati Panigale V4 R|
|2||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||7.119|
|3||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||15.323|
|4||33||M. MELANDRI||Yamaha YZF R1||19.951|
|5||54||T. RAZGATLIOGLU||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||20.107|
|6||66||T. SYKES||BMW S1000 RR||23.096|
|7||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale V4 R||26.834|
|8||11||S. CORTESE||Yamaha YZF R1||29.526|
|9||91||L. HASLAM||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||29.707|
|10||21||M. RINALDI||Ducati Panigale V4 R||31.218|
|11||28||M. REITERBERGER||BMW S1000 RR||31.999|
|12||76||L. BAZ||Yamaha YZF R1||36.824|
|13||36||L. MERCADO||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||46.045|
|14||46||T. BRIDEWELL||Ducati Panigale V4 R||47.804|
|15||52||A. DELBIANCO||Honda CBR1000RR||52.105|
|16||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||55.046|
|17||23||R. KIYONARI||Honda CBR1000RR||55.795|
|RET||81||J. TORRES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||14|
|RET||72||Y. TAKAHASHI||Honda CBR1000RR||8 Laps|