Jonathan Rea claimed his first victory in seven races at Misano to extend his championship lead over Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes. The two ZX-10R machines dominated the opening race in Italy with Sykes shadowing Rea throughout but the defending champion hung on to end his longest winning drought since joining Kawasaki last year.
As it turned out, the decisive moment in the battle for the lead came at the start with Sykes, who had earlier claimed his customary pole position, suffering excessive wheelie as he left the grid, allowing Rea to outdrag him into turn one. There was trouble further back though as Xavi Fores collided with Lorenzo Savadori, collecting the unfortunate Chaz Davies and Leon Camier in the process. The Aprilia rider was eliminated on the spot while Davies and Camier were relegated to the back of the field, setting the stage for blistering recovery rides.
With their likeliest challenger out of contention, Kawasaki’s chances of a 1-2 increased and it became a near-certainty on lap two when Davide Giugliano slid out of fourth at turn fourteen. Sepang winner Nicky Hayden inherited the position but that would only last two corners before he lost the front end of his Honda at the final bend. This left his teammate Michael van der Mark as the only threat to the KRT duo.
For lap after lap, Sykes circulated in tandem with his teammate, never falling more than half a second behind but try as he might, the Yorkshireman couldn’t execute a clean pass on the world champion. After an error-free ride, Rea held on for a hugely significant victory ahead of Sykes and van der Mark, the significance highlighted by Davies’ difficulties.
To his credit, the Welshman produced a sensational performance to salvage fourth, lapping much quicker than the Kawasakis in the closing stages, but twelve points were lost to his championship rival. Jordi Torres and Markus Reiterberger benefitted from a late mistake by Alex Lowes to claim fifth and sixth for Althea BMW while Niccolo Canepa ensured one PATA Yamaha would make the top seven.
Leon Camier climbed back up to eighth ahead of Roman Ramos and Anthony West while Lowes slipped to thirteenth after his issue at turn four.
WorldSBK 2016: Pirelli Riviera di Rimini Round – Race One Result
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