Chaz Davies gave Ducati the perfect start to their home weekend by dominating race one at Imola on Saturday. The Welshman led every lap ahead of the two factory Kawasakis of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes with neither able to keep up with the pace of the Panigale.
Davies had earlier signalled his intent for the weekend by claiming a comfortable pole position ahead of teammate Davide Giugliano with Rea and Sykes forced to settle for third and fourth respectively. The opening race was delayed slightly though by a strange incident on the warm-up lap as Dominic Schmitter fell at slow-speed, collecting Peter Sebestyen. Once racing did get underway, the polesitter quickly grabbed the holeshot but Rea gallantly gave chase early on with Giugliano dropping behind Sykes to fourth.
The gap between the leading pair hovered around the one-second mark until half-distance when a crucial error put paid to Rea’s chances. The reigning champion outbraked himself into Tosa and took a brief trip through the gravel and although he recovered to the track without falling, four seconds were lost and any hope of victory.
The mistake also put second place in jeopardy with Sykes closing right up to the rear wheel of his teammate but Rea would ultimately hold on, pipping the Yorkshireman by three tenths of a second. Giugliano fell twenty seconds adrift of his race-winning teammate and in doing so, conceded fourth place to the Althea BMW of Jordi Torres.
Leon Camier produced another terrific ride on the MV Agusta to take sixth despite a late error at Rivazza with Michael van der Mark the first Honda rider home in seventh after a disastrous Friday for the team. Teammate Nicky Hayden followed Lorenzo Savadori home in ninth while Xavi Fores completed the top ten.
Alex Lowes was eleventh on a terrible day for PATA Yamaha who lost Sylvain Guintoli in Superpole 2 after a highside which left him with a fractured ankle.
WorldSBK 2016: Motul Italian Round – Race One Result
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