Race 1 at the Gaerne Spanish Round saw Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) decimate the field by over three seconds, while a podium for the Kawasaki Racing Team duo was enough for the Japanese marque to secure the Manufacturers Award.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) led into the first corner from P2 on the grid, with teammate Tom Sykes and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) close behind. However it wasn’t long until Davies moved in on Lowes to begin his hunt for the win. Nicky Hayden (Honda World Superbike Team) didn’t get an ideal start after a wheelie off the line slowed him considerably, however the Kentucky Kid made up for it by setting a fastest time on lap 3 as he worked his way up into the top five.
The early laps saw many riders end their races prematurely with the first victims of the Circuito de Jerez being Luca Scassa (VFT Racing) and Saeed Al Sulaiti (Pedercini Racing) on the opening lap. Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) and Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) were next when they both crashed out at turn 1 on lap two. On the next lap Lowes crashed out at turn 5, before Ant West (Pedercini Racing) slid out but the Australian was able to rejoin at the next corner.
Once Davies got in front it was impossible for the Kawasakis to match his pace. Sykes, who finished second, gained important Championship points to help close in on his title leading teammate Jonathan Rea, who finished third.
Hayden worked his way up to finish in fourth ahead of his teammate Michael van der Mark who rounded out the top five. Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) finished in sixth with MV Agusta Reparto Corse rider Leon Camier taking seventh. The first Spaniard home was Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) who finished in eighth ahead of his teammate Markus Reiterberger in ninth.
Further down the order it was a four-way fight to place in the top 10 involving Josh Brookes (Milwaukee BMW), Alex De Angelis (Ioda Racing Team) Roman Ramos (Team GOELEVEN) and Lorenzo Savadori (IodaRacing). Eventually, Brookes won the battle to finish in tenth with De Angelis in P11, Ramos in P12 and Savadori in P13. Ant West came home in P14 while Peter Sebestyen (Team Toth) picked up his first point of the season in P15.
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship could be decided in Race 2 on Sunday the 16th of October when the WorldSBK field take to the grid for a second time at the Gaerne Spanish Round.
Quotes from the top three riders:
C.Davies (Ducati): “This used to be a bogey track of mine, I never used to be able to get results and it was always difficult. The last two years it has kind of clicked a little bit. You would think that after 16 years I would be able to get it right sooner or later! I’m just so happy to get the victory today because yesterday we were looking good and today the track changed quite a bit so we had to react to that, react to our rivals stepping up the pace and we managed to do that.”
T.Sykes (Kawasaki): “It is a big day for Kawasaki, two years on the bounce, which is like the number ten bus! They win one last year and they are on it straight away again. It just shows you the amount of effort and support they are putting into the WorldSBK championship. Overall, it is quite an acceptable race, to finish second with those strong guys either side of me is not too bad, but it is also not perfect. Chaz is the one hunting me down in the championship for second and we need to find an answer tomorrow.”
J.Rea (Kawasaki): “With everything on my mind it was better to consolidate our points today, move on and take one step closer to our ultimate goal. I’m a little bit disappointed with our bike today. We had no traction from early on, front and rear, so tomorrow we need to understand that. All in all I’m happy to be on the podium, my first podium in Jerez, so that is at least one goal accomplished today.”
T.Sykes Kawasaki (+3.290)
J.Rea Kawasaki (+7.151)
J.Rea Kawasaki (442 points)
T.Sykes Kawasaki (398 points)
C.Davies Ducati (370 points)