The opening race of the Pirelli Spanish round of this year’s eni FIM Superbike World Championship has been won by Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), the former champion notching up his 60th WorldSBK career podium finish as team mate Jonathan Rea sealed his first World Title by finishing fourth after an early race fight with rival Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) who eventually finished 2nd. Sykes dominated after leading from the start easing away to take his 26th race win
Not wanting to risk a mistake, Rea was overhauled by Michael van der Mark who showed some real speed on his Pata Honda, the Dutchman claiming his 3rd podium of the year ahead of the new World Champion and Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) who was in contention despite a lowly 11th position grid slot.
Michele Pirro (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) finished a credible 6th ahead of Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes, Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and the outgoing champ Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) who completed the top ten.
Jordi Torres made life difficult for himself, the Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils rider running off track at the start. Rejoining he ended the opening lap in 18th before eventually finishing 12th 4 seconds adrift of compatriot David Salom (Team Pedercini) who had the accolade of being the best placed Spanish rider.
The final points finishers were Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven), Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing) and Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia).
Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) was running a strong fourth in the early stages before losing the front of his Ducati Panigale at Turn 6. The Italian, fresh from his first front row start was able to rejoin proceedings – he eventually finished 17th.
Race 2 will start at 13:10 local time and once again be run over a distance of 20 laps.
WorldSBK Jerez – Race 1
1 – Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team
2 – Chaz Davies Kawasaki Racing Team +2.865
3 – Michael van der Mark Pata Honda World Superbike +6.665