Jonathan Rea extended his winning record in 2017 to three wins in three starts after crushing the opposition in race one at Buriram in Thailand. The reigning champion led from start to finish with no other rider capable of matching his race pace, Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes coming home a distant second and third respectively.
Superpole had taken place in bizarre circumstances with a batch of Pirelli qualifying tyres damaged in transit with the replacements stuck in customs on their way to Buriram. As a result, the compound was withdrawn from the allocation and the fight for pole took place on soft race tyres, something which certainly played into Rea’s hands as he pipped Sykes to pole for the second round running.
Marco Melandri rounded out the front row and the Italian was the only rider to keep Rea in sight early on, diving past Sykes for second at turn one. Davies was finding life slightly tougher having qualified on the second row but a sensational move saw him climb into the podium spots, scything up the inside of the no.66 Kawasaki at turn seven, arguably the circuit’s unlikeliest overtaking place.
With Rea becoming an increasingly lonely leader, Melandri fell back into the clutches of his team-mate and the inevitable came on lap fourteen as Davies snatched second. Marco still looked set for a second consecutive rostrum but a fast-finishing Sykes had other ideas, diving past into the final corner to steal the final podium position. Melandri crossed the line a dejected fourth, but will at least have the consolation prize of pole position for race two.
Michael van der Mark won the battle of the PATA Yamahas for fifth, edging out Alex Lowes, while a last lap technical problem robbed Eugene Laverty of seventh, promoting Jordi Torres, Leon Camier and Nicky Hayden into the top nine and the second row for tomorrow’s race.
WorldSBK 2017: Motul Thai Round – Race One Result
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