Jonathan Rea extended his World Superbike Championship lead to 14 points after seeing off a trio of Ducati riders in race one at Aragon. The Ulsterman overcame an obvious straight-line speed deficit to beat Chaz Davies and Xavi Fores with Marco Melandri dropping to fourth after a last lap error.
The day had started so well for Melandri after the Italian claimed pole position, narrowly edging out the Kawasakis of Rea and Tom Sykes. Rea immediately grabbed the lead at the start but racing would be called to a halt on lap three following a sickening crash involving Leon Camier who was collected by Jordi Torres and Lorenzo Savadori. Fortunately, the Honda rider appears to have escaped serious injury.
At the restart, Rea stormed into the lead once again and once the early challenge of Alex Lowes had faded, a four-man breakaway was established with Melandri, Fores and Davies chasing the world champion. Fores boosted hopes of a memorable maiden victory on home soil by passing Rea into turn one at half-distance but the Kawasaki rider produced a slick move to regain the lead five laps from home.
Sensing an opportunity to break, Rea upped the pace and with Fores holding back his factory counterparts, Jonathan successfully escaped for his second win of the season. Melandri’s error at turn one promoted Davies to third on the final lap and the Welshman still had time to chase down Fores to snatch second on the finish line.
Melandri secured race two pole with fourth while Michael van der Mark finished a fine fifth, just ahead of a disappointed Tom Sykes while Lowes slipped to seventh in the closing stages. STK1000 champion Michael Ruben Rinaldi marked his WorldSBK debut with an impressive eighth ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu and Roman Ramos.
WorldSBK 2018: Spanish Round: Race One
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