Photos from WorldSBK.com
Kawasaki Racing Team’s (KRT) Jonathan Rea secured his first double wins of the 2018 WorldSBK season after he cruised to victory in Race 2 over 4 seconds adrift from compatriot Chaz Davies of Ducati Aruba.it.
The victory also gives the Northern Irishman a record-equaling 59 wins with another Briton, 4-time WorldSBK champion Carl Fogarty.
Rea Rea had earlier won Race 1 held on Saturday, and had started Race 2 9th on the grid. Davies, who finished 4th on Saturday, had started the race from 1st on the reversed grid platform.
The battle had been anticipated all weekend, but it was Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who made the early move, flying out from the blocks and taking the lead ahead of Davies.
The Welshman kept close behind however, finally making his move at Variante Bassa at the end of lap 3. By then, Rea had made it up to third, and a few bends later, at Tosa, passed Rinaldi and set up the fight.
For 9 laps, it was cat-and-mouse game, with barely a tenth of a second separating the two. For several laps, Rea stalked Davies, creeping up and planning his pass. He fired the first shot at Tamburello on lap 10, going wide and allowing Davies back through by the straight.
Shot two came at Tosa two laps later, and it couldn’t have been closer. Rea found the pace he needed around Tosa, but Davies took the inside line. The pair touched, Rea went wide, and the Ducati stayed in front.
It was 3rd time lucky for Rea, however, one lap later, at the entry to Variante Alta. From there on, the fired-up reigning champion put on an incredible display, giving Davies no chance to even answer back, and increasing the lead to four seconds by the checkered flag.
Behind the flying duo was Rea’s KRT teammate Tom Sykes, completing an all-British duo for the first time this season. Sykes had a beautiful battle with Xavi Fores of Barni Racing Team throughout the race, finally managing to make it past the Spaniard, who finished 4th, with three laps to go.
Before that, Ducati Aruba.it’s Marco Melandri and Michael van der Mark ofPata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team, who had been contending for that final podium place, came together on lap 10 around Rivazza. The pair collided and ended up on the gravel, neither man able to return.
Jordi Torres of MV Agusta Reparto Corse scored his best result of the season with a scintillating 5th place finish, after starting on Row 4. One place behind him on the grid and finally at the flag, Alex Lowes of Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team came in 6th, equalling his best Imola result.