The opening race at Imola, the Acerbis Italian Round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship resulted in victory for championship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) after a the race was initially red flagged and restarted because of a crash involving David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki), who fell off his factory ZX-10R at Rivazza on lap 11. After being taken to the Medical Centre, the Spaniard was diagnosed with a left radius bone fracture and a deep elbow contusion.
The pace in the restart was electric, as the Kawasaki pairing of Sykes and Rea pushed each other to the limit. A lap record on lap 2 for Rea saw him pass his team mate only for Sykes to respond with an even faster lap to pile on the pressure. A tense final lap saw Rea cling on to claim his 22nd career win ahead of Sykes with Davide Giugliano who produced a determined ride to claim 3rd and the final podium place on his return to the WorldSBK paddock.
Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) made changes during the short delay, the British rider looked more comfortable, finishing fourth ahead of the Pata Honda machine of reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli, who moved up from 15th on the original starting grid to fifth. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) scored a solid ten points in sixth.
Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati) was part of a six rider group that was fighting for fifth, the reigning FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup winner taking seventh ahead of Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Ducati), Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Michel Fabrizio, who took a solid tenth position on his one-off ride, replacing the injured Nico Terol.
Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Santiago Barragan (Grillini SBK Team Kawasaki), Christophe Ponsson (Team Pedercini) and Imre Toth (BMW Team Toth) rounded out the point scoring finishers.
Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) was running in sixth in the early stages of the first part of race 1 before a mistake dropped him down the order, the Spanish WorldSBK rookie re-grouped before crashing out unhurt with 11 laps to go. He along with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) were unable to take part in the restart.
WorldSBK Imola – Race 1
1 – Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team
2 – Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team +0.482
3 – Davide Giugliano Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team +3.945