World Superbike Race 1 at Imola was characterised by “Hammer Time”. But we’re not talking about Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, but about Jonathan Rea. The reigning World Champion started the first of the two races in Italy from pole position and then he dominated from the first till the last lap with an unreachable pace. This way the rider from Ballymena returned winning at Imola after two years of Davies’ dominion and this, together with Chaz’s fourth place, makes him extend his gap in the championship on the Welsh from 30 till 42 points.
At the start Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes had a great start and after that the Kawasaki Racing Team duo immediately distanced the rest of the field, whose first representants were Marco Melandri and Michael Rinaldi. Chaz Davies tried to get back to them after having a bad start, but during the second lap he went out of the track at the final chicane and this pushed him back to 8th place. Rea set many fast laps in a row and this made his advantage on Sykes increase till reaching four seconds and a half, the advantage he had whe he crossed the line and won the race.
While Rea dominated, Davies tried to recover as many positions as he could and he overtook Michael van der Mark, Eugene Laverty, Michael Rinaldi and finally Xavi Forés. He tried to close the gap with Marco Melandri to fight for third place, but finally he had to content with a bittersweet fourth, that anyway will make him start from pole position in Race 2. So Rea, Sykes and Melandri finished the race on the podium, while Chaz Davies ranked fourth in front of Xavi Forés. Michael van der Mark, Michael Rinaldi (very competitive at the beginning), Lorenzo Savadori, Leon Haslam and Alex Lowes closed the top 10. After being in top 5 in the early staes, Eugene Laverty lost many positions and at the chequered flag he was 12th.
Photo Credit: Marco Lanfranchi