Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) made a bigger step forward on Saturday than his rivals could imagine.
The Irish racer, starting from the pole position, won the first race of Round 5 at Imola and increased his advantage in the overall ranking. The victory at Imola was his fourth of the season and fourth consecutive Round with a win. Rea knew that starting from the pole position is a good chance to win.
That was the game-plan to be honest”, he says. “We had a good pace and I wanted to set my own rhythm, try to make a small gap and then manage. Quite fast the gap grew to three seconds, and then I could improve and respond when it went stagnant, so it was a really nice victory. It seems like Race 1 is the ‘nice’ race to win, and I mean, I just really enjoyed it! The team gave me a great bike”.
At the same time, the Kawasaki team celebrated a double, as Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished second. Unfortunately, he couldn’t match the Rea’s pace and lost almost four seconds to his teammate. He moves up to fourth in the championship and will start from row 3 on Sunday.
Melandri and Davies finished third and fourth respectively. Davies failed at the beginning of the race and appeared sixth, but managed get out on the third position, but Melandri was behind him and picked up the initiative. Xavi Fores closed the Top-5.
After the first race at Imola Jonathan Rea extended his championship points lead to 42 points over Davies. Melandri took the third position, but his backlog is 53 points.
Jason O’Halloran (AUS Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR) has been taken to hospital having suffered a fracture to his right leg in a crash during Race 1. A statement via Twitter from the Ten Kate team said: “We have had an update from the Clinica Mobile. Unfortunately, Jason O'Halloran has a fracture in his lower right leg and is on his way to Imola hospital."
1. Jonathan Rea GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10RR 19 laps
2. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10RR +3.755s
3. Marco Melandri ITA Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R +6.906s
4. Chaz Davies GBR Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R +8.191s
5. Xavi Fores ESP Barni Ducati Panigale R +15.550s
6. Michael van der Mark NED PATA Yamaha YZF-R1 +19.339s
7. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ITA Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R +22.522s
8. Lorenzo Savadori ITA Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4 +25.772s
9. Leon Haslam GBR Puccetti Kawasaki ZX-10RR +30.269s
10. Alex Lowes GBR PATA Crescent Yamaha R1 +30.377s
11. Toprak Razgatlioglu TUR Puccetti Kawasaki ZX-10RR +30.660s
12. Eugene Laverty IRE Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4 +34.188s
13. Loris Baz FRA Althea BMW S1000RR +36.494s
14. Jordi Torres ESP MV Agusta 1000 F4 +36.671s
15. Leandro Mercado ARG Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki ZX-10RR +38.041s
16. Jake Gagne USA Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2 +41.312s
17. Yonny Hernandez COL Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10RR +55.007s
18. Ondrej Jezek CZE Guandalini Yamaha YZF-R1 +1m
— Roman Ramos ESP Team GoEleven Kawasaki ZX-10RR
— Vladimir Leonov RUS SPB Racing Kawasaki ZX-10RR
— Jason O’Halloran AUS Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2
— PJ Jacobsen USA TripleM Honda CBR1000RR SP2