Suffering with problems adjusting the setup on his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR on free practice and also during the Superpole sessions, Jonathan Rea showed what he’s made of by winning in style Race 1 of the World Superbike round at Motorland Aragon, Spain.
The track was already completely dry when Race 1 started, a contrast to what happened Friday and early Saturday morning, so the riders could push their bikes to the limit even if the asphalt was still very cold making the Pirelli tires work hard to find some grip.
The race was red flagged after just three laps due to a crash involving Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda SBK).
Camier suffered a low-side while in front of Torres, and the MV Agusta rider couldn’t avoid the impact with Camier, a dramatic incident that left Camier lying down on the asphalt because of the impact. In the middle of the turmoil Lorenzo Savadori was also touched and fell.
Leon Camier was taken to hospital for further exams, with the Red Bull Honda team saying he has no external injuries but shows a lot of pain, so he will probably miss tomorrow’s Race 2.
At race restart, it was Rea at the top, leading the first half of the new race. The champion later found himself under pressure from Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team), who made his move over the Northern Irishman with just 9 laps to go, taking the lead in front of his home fans.
But Fores suffered from severe tire degradation on the last few laps of the race, and Rea had saved the best for last and upped his lap pace in the remaining five laps, gaining 0.5s per lap over his Ducati pursuers and winning in front of Chaz Davies (Ducati Aruba.it) who managed to beat Xavi Fores to the checkered flag, while “pole man” Marco Melandri made a mistake and had to settle for fourth place.
Behind them, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) came in fifth, leaving him in a promising position for Race 2. The British pair of Sykes and Lowes followed in sixth and seventh, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) taking a good eighth position on his World SBK debut.
With this result Jonathan Rea stretches his lead in the World Superbike championship over Marco Melandri, with the two now separated by 14 points, 94 points for Rea and 80 for Melandri. Chaz Davies on the second official Ducati follows in third at the standings with 77 points, while Xavi Fores continues to impress in the 2018 season, occupying fourth position in the general standings with 76 points.