Jonathan Rea took sole leadership of the 2015 World Superbike Championship after comfortably seeing off Leon Haslam in race one at the Chang International Circuit. The Ulsterman led from start to finish, breaking away from his rivals on the opening lap and controlling the lead from there on.
For Haslam, the damage to his chances of victory were done on the opening lap after falling to third behind the second factory Kawasaki of Tom Sykes. It soon became apparent that Sykes had no answer for the relentless race pace of his teammate and as Rea eased away, Haslam became more and more frustrated on the tail of the no.66 machine. On lap three, Haslam dived up the inside of Sykes at the end of the back straight to reclaim second but even at such an early stage, Rea was already two seconds up the road and effectively out of reach.
While one Kawasaki blazed a trail at the front, Sykes began to struggle and looked in serious danger of plummeting out of the podium places. Seven laps in, Tom was relegated to fourth after a brutal manoeuvre from Alex Lowes but before Chaz Davies had chance to inflict further pain, the Ducati rider slid off at turn twelve. Sykes’ rostrum hopes were given another unexpected boost three laps later as Lowes made an identical error, handing third place back to the Yorkshireman.
Rea enjoyed a quiet race by comparison and cruised to victory by 6.329s from Haslam with Sykes holding off the second Red Devils Aprilia of Jordi Torres for third. Sylvain Guintoli brought his PATA Honda home in a lonely fifth while Alex Lowes remounted to claim sixth, only to be demoted a place for ignoring yellow flags, promoting Althea’s Matteo Baiocco.
David Salom jumped Troy Bayliss for eighth after the Australian legend also breached yellow flag regulations with Leandro Mercado completing the top ten, the Argentinian rider holding off the recovering Chaz Davies.