Tom Sykes converted pole position into a dominant victory in the opening World Superbike race of the day at Misano. The Yorkshireman led every lap of the race to claim his third win of the season while Jonathan Rea won a fierce battle with Ducati duo Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano for second place.
The writing was on the wall for Tom’s rivals immediately when the polesitter took the holeshot ahead of Giugliano, Leon Haslam and Rea while the returning Max Biaggi was welcomed back to World Superbikes with a forceful move at Rio by reigning champion Sylvain Guintoli, pushing him off the track.
With Sykes gradually extending his lead at the front over Giugliano, attention switched to the championship leader who was piling the pressure on Haslam. On lap six, Rea muscled his way past the Aprilia with a move which wrong-footed Haslam just enough to allow Davies to follow through. Leon’s hopes of a podium finish would end there and then, but Rea quickly began to reel in second-placed Giugliano, bringing Davies with him.
Despite swapping places on the way, Rea and Davies managed to reel in the no.34 Panigale two laps from the finish and under braking for turn one, Rea swept through into second. Davies looked to perform a similar manoeuvre to the one which took him past Haslam but his teammate put up a much sterner defence, forcing the Welshman into a risky dive up the inside of turn twelve. It ultimately proved successful but the inter-team squabbling enabled Rea to escape and secure another Kawasaki 1-2 behind the imperious Sykes.
Davies claimed the final podium spot ahead of Giugliano with Haslam holding off a recovering Biaggi for fifth. Ayrton Badovini pipped Michele Pirro to seventh while the PATA Hondas of Guintoli and Michael van der Mark tumbled to ninth and tenth.