Jonathan Rea demonstrated his world championship-winning credentials once again with a superb victory in race one at Magny Cours. The Ulsterman chased down teammate Tom Sykes in damp conditions to claim his thirteenth win of the season, leading home Kawasaki’s seventh 1-2 of 2015.
Overnight rain and an oil spill in morning warm-up left a slippery circuit for the opening race of the day but Sykes seemed to revel in it, in stark contrast to the tentative showing here last season which ultimately cost him the title. The 2013 champion rose from ninth on the grid to fourth on lap one before a sensational move at the Adelaide hairpin brought him onto the tail of his race-leading teammate.
Rea relinquished the advantage at the same corner on lap three before Sykes proceeded to open up a three second lead at the front by half distance. In a painful repeat of previous outings this year, the Yorkshireman’s pace would drop off in the second half of the race with Rea storming back into contention, eventually barging his way back in front at 180 with three laps remaining.
That move would eventually prove decisive with Rea taking victory by 4.7 seconds from Sykes while PATA Honda enjoyed their best race of the season, taking third and fourth spots. Sylvain Guintoli won the inter-team tussle to claim his first podium of 2015 on home soil while Michael van der Mark had to settle for a lonely fourth.
Leon Camier gave MV Agusta their best result of the year in fifth, beating the Ducatis of Chaz Davies and Matteo Baiocco to do so, while Alex Lowes bounced back from his Superpole misery to finish eighth on board the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki.