Jonathan Rea claimed his first victory of the 2018 World Superbike season after leading from start to finish in race one at Buriram. The reigning champion converted his first pole position of the year into victory, leading the Ducatis of Xavi Fores and Chaz Davies as championship leader Marco Melandri struggled to eighth place.
Rea had pipped his Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes to pole position, denying the Yorkshireman a record-breaking 43rd career pole, and Sykes looked intent on exacting revenge early in the race. In each of the first two laps, Sykes outbraked Rea into the final corner to grab the lead but when the Ulsterman dived back through on lap three, bringing Leon Camier through with him, Sykes would never threaten the lead again.
In truth, Rea wasn’t threatened any more either, even though his lead never grew beyond a second and a half. Camier continued to lead the chasing pack but the impressive Fores deprived him of second on lap thirteen, taking advantage of an error which sent the Honda rider off the track at turn three. From there, Fores would go onto to claim a career-best second while the fast-finishing Davies stole the final rostrum spot two laps from home.
Camier finished fourth, earning him the consolation prize of race two pole position, while Alex Lowes relegated Sykes to sixth on the penultimate lap while the Kawasaki rider struggled with brake problems. Michael van der Mark relegated an off-colour Melandri to eighth while Eugene Laverty and Jordi Torres rounded out the top ten.
WorldSBK 2018: Motul Thai Round: Race One
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