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.
Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) ran a superb lap to grab his first pole in 6 years at Round Three of the FIM Supersport World Championship. The German rider has not started from the front since the penultimate race of his Moto3™ title winning season in 2012, but a consistent performance throughout the session also grants him his first front row start this year.
Behind him, Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) was very close to recording a third successive Superpole this season, denied the chance to lead the grid by just two hundredths of a second. He will be happy about his placement however, as title rival and co-leader Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) could only come in fifth.
Between them, Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) was agonisingly close to beating both his teammate and Cortese, with the Italian just 0.081 off the German’s best lap.
Leading the second row on the grid will be Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) with the first non-Yamaha bike, with the row completed by Jules Cluzel (NRT), who couldn’t follow up a promising performance in the free practices with a front row start.
Debutant Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), stepping in for five-time champion Kenan Sofuoglu as he recovers from injury, will lead the third row from seventh, ahead of Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) and Ayrton Badovini (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag).
Mika Pérez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) opened the curtains for the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship with a stunning best lap around the Alcañiz circuit. The Spaniard was the only rider to beat 2’08 on the day, and finished 0.791 seconds ahead of Scott Deroue (Motosport Kawasaki) in second place. As such, Sunday’s race will see an inverted grid from last year’s race, when Deroue took pole ahead of Pérez.
Behind them and completing the four Kawasakis at the front were Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team) and Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team), confirming that both teammates are strong contenders for this year’s crown. Loureiro beat Carrasco by a mere four hundredths of a second, just after the Spaniard had momentarily moved into third.
Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team) came in fifth with the first KTM, followed by fellow Dutchman Robert Schotman (Motosport Kawasaki) in sixth, one place down from where he started last year.
Daniel Valle (BCD Yamaha MS Racing), who came in second last year, could not make it through the Superpole 1 and will start from sixteenth. The two riders who did make it through the first round were Glenn van Straalen (KTM Fortron Racing Team), who will start twelfth, and Filippo Rovelli (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team), who made it through in ninth. Teenager Tom Edwards (Nutec – Benjan – Kawasaki), the fastest rider across yesterday’s practice sessions, crashed in his final lap and will start from tenth.
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