Superbikes - WSBK: Lights-to-flag victory for Rea

Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea proved to be unbeatable in the opening World Superbike race of the day at Imola and  eased to victory with a 4.5 second advantage this morning.

Superbikes - WSBK: Lights-to-flag victory for Rea

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Imola WSBK: Lights-to-flag victory for Rea

The Isle of Man resident had a great start and pushed on ahead - and no other rider was able to get close to the Honda lad and in the end he took a comfortable win.

It was the first time that the Italian circuit has had an all British podium with Ducati’s Chaz Davies clinching second with Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes snatching the final step of the podium. It was a solid race by the Welsh rider who has bagged himself his first rostrum of the year and his maiden podium for his new team.

Rea got the hole-shot on the opening lap followed by Aprilia duo of Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli, but Davies had a good start and was able to over take his former BMW team-mate of Melandri to go into second on the final chicane.

After a solid start Sykes was close on the pace of the leading bikes and Melandri went wide at Rivazza and the reigning champ was able to comfortable go into fourth on lap two. 

In the Evo class it was a battle of Althea’s Racing Niccolo Canepa and BMW Italia’s Leon Camier, with the Italian edging away from the Brit but on lap five Canepa made a mistake and ended up in the dust at Variante Bassa, leaving Camier to storm on ahead to go up to eleventh.

With the 12 laps remaining Rea ploughed on ahead and had a two second lead over the rest of the pack, but the place for second and third kept changing, and Guintoli was back on the pace and overtook Davies and Sykes at Variante Alta to go second and had Rea as his next target.

Ducati’s Davide Giugliano was in sixth and was looking to make a move on Kawasaki’s Loris Baz, but crashed unhurt at Rivazza, ending his hopes of a podium finish. But his mistake meant the Voltcom Suzuki paring of Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes were able to move up into the seventh and eighth spots with six laps to go.

Davies went up to second on lap 16 after overtaking Guintoli at Rivazza, but by then Rea had a five second lead over the Welshman, and Davies pushed on ahead. It looked like the Frenchman was struggling as Sykes made a move on the last chicane, and even went wide himself but was able to make his move stick, only for Guintoli to get the place back seconds later.

But Melandri and Baz were not giving up the fight and a battle for the final step on the rostrum tuned into a four way scrap. Sykes went up into third again at Acque Minerali on lap 17.

On the final rotation Guintoli and his team-mate Melandri fell off the pace and Baz was able to take advantage for the struggling Aprilia’s to snatch fourth, but he was too late to catch up with the leading trio and ended the morning just outside a podium place, with Guintoli and Melandri finishing fifth and sixth respectably.

Laverty and Lowes never made an impact in to the top five and ended the race seventh and eighth followed by Red Devils Roma’s Toni Elias and Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam, who completed the top ten.

Camier won the Evo class and crossed the finishing line in eleventh overall, with compatriot and fellow Evo rider, Alstare’s Christian Iddon behind him in twelfth. But the Stockport rider's results wont count due to homologation rules.

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