WSBK: Rampant Rea returns to winning ways in Race One at Imola

Discussion in 'Racing' started by Simon, May 14, 2019.

  1. Simon

    Simon Professional storyteller
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    Mar 25, 2015
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    It was a welcome return to the top step of the podium for Kawasaki's Jonathan Rea, who put in a riding masterclass to take victory in Race One.

    The Ulsterman enjoyed a bright start, but couldn’t get the better of Ducati's Chaz Davies down into Tamburello. However, on the run to Acque Minerale, Davies suffered a problem and was forced to retire, handing Rea the lead while Davies’ team-mate Bautista moved up to second.

    At the end of the opening lap, Rea and Bautista had the leading positions, with BMW's Tom Sykes in third and ahead of Yamaha's Michael van der Mark.

    As the race settled down, Rea built a comfortable lead and was extending his advantage over Bautista by around 0.7s per lap. Bautista in turn was escaping the attention of Sykes but the main battle through the race was for fourth, with van der Mark leading Alex Lowes.

    However, Lowes began to slip back, having been ill all weekend, and then Sykes suffered another mechanical issue, robbing the 2013 WorldSBK champ of a certain podium.

    Sykes’ demise promoted a huge battle between van der Mark and Toprak Razgatlioglu for the final podium position. The Turkish star made his move in the closing stages and got ahead of van der Mark. The pair then swapped paint and traded blows on the penultimate lap, colliding twice and fighting down to the wire.

    Meanwhile, in a league of his own, Jonathan Rea blitzed the opposition in vintage fashion, taking his first win of the season to end the run of victories by Alvaro Bautista.

    It is Jonathan Rea’s eighth win at Imola and his 72nd career victory in WSBK, ending his longest winless run since 2013. It is the 128th win for Kawasaki in WSBK.

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