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PRESS RELEASE/WorldSBK – MotorLand Aragon (Photo: Supplied)
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had mixed feelings about his bike throughout Friday and the Saturday Superpole, but in Race 1 of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship Round Three he put to bed any worries he or his team may have had with a dominant performance at MotorLand Aragon. The reigning champion increases his lead to 14 points now, after Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) could only come in fourth.
The race was red flagged after three laps, after a collision involving Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia). The Honda rider was immediately taken to the medical centre for evaluation, while Torres and Savadori exited the track on their own feet, although the Spaniard could not make the restart in time.
Before the incident, a wild start had completely turned over the starting grid for Race 1. Poleman Marco Melandri moved down to fifth in lap one, with Rea taking the lead ahead of Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), up from fifth. Behind them, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) had made an extraordinary start, coming through from 11th to 4th in just one lap, and beating Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on the next lap to move into provisional podium positions.
After the restart, it was Rea again at the top, leading the first half of the new race bar one lap from Lowes. The champion later found himself under pressure from Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team), who made his move over the Northern Irishman with just nine laps to go, taking the lead in front of his home fans. But, ultimately, Rea found his moment a couple of laps later, racing away from the Spaniard and taking his second win of the season.
The final laps displayed an extraordinary three-way Ducati fight for the podium, between Fores, Melandri, and Davies, up the field again. With Melandri going long with two laps to go, it was a fantastic race to the finish between Davies and Fores, exchanging places throughout the final lap and with the Welshman just squeezing ahead at the checkered flag.
Behind them, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) came in fifth, leaving him in a promising position for Race Two. 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 WorldSBK debut.
At the back, a thrilling battle emerged for ninth, and thus a privileged starting position in tomorrow’s Race Two. At the end, it was Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) who came in ahead of the pack, with three more riders less than a second away.
P1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“It was a good race, I want to thank all my team as it’s their home race – we have a lot of team friends here and they gave me a good bike. After Friday morning’s FP1 I was throwing the toys out the pram, but step by step we worked in a good way and this morning we were fast in FP4. But today it was good with the temperatures, to keep the tyres cool and tomorrow we need to keep an eye on the temperature to see what our pace is like.”
P2 – Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“It was an all red battle at the end! But I was really happy with the last few laps. It was a really hard race starting from 11th on the grid, I didn’t really have anything extra to give and I gave it all. To be honest it felt like I was struggling a bit and it felt like I made the best out of what I had. Congratulations to the other guys, it was a hard fought race.”
P3 – Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team)
“It was a funny race overall, we had a good fight overall with Jonny, Marco and Chaz. At the end I was struggling in the last four laps so I was pushing hard to defend the second place, but on the last lap Chaz overtook me on the rear straight. Anyway it was a good result because yesterday I felt bad with the bike in these conditions, but I am happy with this result and I look forward to tomorrow.”