Jordi Torres rode the race of his life to claim his first World Superbike victory in the opener at Losail, becoming the first non-British winner of the entire season. The Spaniard chased down the two factory Kawasakis before fending off Jonathan Rea in a thrilling final lap, handing Aprilia their first win since the opening round in Australia.
From his 30th career pole, Tom Sykes was intent on converting it into victory, pulling out a slight advantage on the opening lap while Rea was mired in a battle with Chaz Davies for second. Rea eventually prevailed with Davies plummeting down the order, losing third to Alex Lowes before the Aprilias of Torres and Leon Haslam overtook him shortly afterwards.
Torres still had work to do from fifth place although one obstacle was removed when more Suzuki problems struck the luckless Alex Lowes, taking him out of a podium position. Once Davies was dispensed with, Jordi was up to third but three seconds separated him from the seemingly dominant Kawasakis. Torres clearly had other ideas though and chopped half a second per lap out of the deficit to bring himself on terms by lap ten.
Rea had clearly seen the threat coming and dived up the inside of Sykes for the lead with a wild manoeuvre, one that prompted an apology from the Ulsterman to his teammate, but Tom wouldn’t get the chance to fight back with Torres breezing past on the home straight moments later.
With so much straight-line speed, Rea was powerless to prevent Torres blasting past with six laps remaining and despite a series of lunges from the new champion on the last lap, Jordi held on for a first World Superbike win. Sykes trailed home in third after fading in the latter stages once again while Davies recovered to fourth, moving him a step closer to the championship runner-up spot.
Michael van der Mark took fifth ahead of the second Aprilia of Haslam with Xavi Fores following them home in seventh on the second Aruba.it Ducati. David Salom was eighth ahead of Leandro Mercado while Sylvain Guintoli rounded out the top ten at the venue of his world title success twelve months ago.