Superbike Donington, Race 1: Magic Michael van der Mark scores magic win

After Free Practice sessions and Superpole everybody expected Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes to be much faster than the rest and fight for the win. But actually something unpredictable happened: the race was won by Yamaha and Michael van der Mark. The manufacturer based in Iwata went back to victory after Marco Melandri’s triumph at 2011 Portimao Round and van der Mark could celebrate his first win in SBK (and no Dutch rider had done it before) and his first one after 2014 World Supersport Qatar Round.

PACK RACE – From the beginning the result of the race was totally uncertain, as Sykes and Rea didn’t manage to distance their opponents and were followed quite easily by Pata Yamaha’s van der Mark and Lowes and Milwaukee Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori. The laps went by and Rea and Sykes overtook each other more than once especially at Old Hairpin (Sykes’ favourite overtaking spot) and Melbourne Hairpin (Rea’s one), but the KRT duo constantly led the front pack ahead of van der Mark.

SURPRISE – Halfway the race we saw the big surprise: van der Mark overtook Rea to go second and then, at the 14th lap (out of 23), he overtook Sykes to take the lead. Even more unusual, in the following laps the Dutchman distanced Kawasaki pair, while Rea took second position by overtaking Sykes. In the final laps Rea tried to close the gap with van der Mark, but a couple of little mistakes prevented him from bothering “Magic Michael”, who finally won and entered history as the first SBK race winner from the Netherlands. Second and third place for Rea and Sykes.

AWFUL RACE FOR DUCATI – Just outside podium, Alex Lowes ranked fourth followed by Aprilia duo Lorenzo SavadoriEugene Laverty, while Loris Baz finished seventh ahead of Chaz Davies. The Welsh is the best Ducati rider on the track and this can definitely prove the trouble the Italian manufacturer is going through in the UK, represented also by Michael Rinaldi‘s 12th place, Marco Melandri‘s crash and Xavi Forés‘ retirement.

THE REST – After last lap clash with his team-mate Toprak Razgatlioglu (who fell at Melbourhe Hairpin), Leon Haslam ranked ninth and closed the top 10 together with Leon Camier. Important point finish for Bradley Ray, who took his BSB-spec Suzuki up to 14th place. 17th-place finish for Luke Mossey, replacing Yonny Hernandez.




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