Chaz Davies was rewarded for a brave tyre gamble on a drying track with victory in race one at Magny Cours. The Welshman was one of a select few riders start on an intermediate rear tyre and while others were forced into the pits for a mid-race change, Davies eased past for his sixth win of 2016 ahead of Michael van der Mark.
The unpredictable weather had already played a key role in Superpole as Jonathan Rea claimed a rare pole position ahead of Tom Sykes and with the two Kawasaki riders opting for full wets on the grid, the KRT team-mates quickly left Davies trailing. The big shock came in the form of Leon Camier though as the MV Agusta man, also on wets, joined the championship contenders in the leading group before overtaking both for the lead on lap nine.
With Camier getting away, both Kawasaki riders saw that as their cue to come in for slicks but by the time Sykes and Rea had rejoined, they had fallen to ninth and tenth. Davies, now up to speed on his intermediate rear tyre, had ghosted through to third with only Camier and Lorenzo Savadori ahead of him lapping several seconds per lap slower on wets.
Savadori briefly led a World Superbike race for the first time when he scythed past Camier on lap fifteen but his joy was short-lived as Davies motored past a lap later. Any dreams of a maiden podium for the Italian would also be dashed with three laps to go as van der Mark, the first leading rider to pit, surged past Camier and the Aprilia with ease to take second.
Davies was way out of range for the Dutchman as the Ducati rider claimed victory but a fast-finishing Sykes came agonisingly close to snatching second on the line. The Yorkshireman salvaged third in the end ahead of Rea with Savadori falling to fifth on the last lap. French wildcard Matthieu Lagrive produced a sensational display on wets to take sixth while Camier slipped to seventh, just ahead of Xavi Fores and home favourite Sylvain Guintoli.
WorldSBK 2016: Fassi French Round – Race One Result
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