At the historic and iconic Cathedral of Speed, Alex Lowes started off strong taking his first ever World Superbike pole position.
Unfortunately for the Brit his good fortune didn’t carry through to the race, as he continuously fell back through the pack and into 12th due to a mistake with tyre fitting; his R1 was fitted with a ‘C’ compound tyre, when it should’ve been fitted with a ‘B’.
While Lowes fought furiously with his Yamaha, his fellow countrymen were fighting up the sharp end.
Jonathan Rea took an early lead, but home hero Michael van der Mark was on his tail, eventually taking the lead on lap eight. We all know that Rea isn’t one to lay down and take it though, and he regained the lead on lap ten to control the race pace and bring home his 12th win at the Dutch track.
However, van der Mark managed to stay with the reigning champion, and also managed to stay within a second of him over the line to finish second.
Towards the end of the race Chaz Davies began to pile on the pressure but dropped off towards the end to settle for third.
And now for some breaking news – Tom Sykes actually passed someone. Actually passed several people. Yes, you did read that right.
He muscled his way past Xavi Fores, who has so far impressed, and Marco Melandri, who is usually difficult to pass. Sykes even tried to pass Davies for third, but had to settle for fourth and pole position for race two.
There’s still a lot of talk around the new rules, and it’s clear that they are starting to make a difference. By regulating the entire field, there is no one bike that has an outstanding advantage as Kawasaki did last year. If anything, Kawasaki are suffering compared to Ducati, who seem to be making the most of the new rules. Although it’s great to see Kawasaki, Ducati (both factory and independent) and Yamaha fighting at the top, something still needs to even the field more for the other teams who are so desperately fighting to catch up.
World Superbike race one:
- Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team – 33:40.360
- Michael van der Mark – Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team +0.981
- Chaz Davies – Aruba.it Racing Ducati +1.282
- Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team +1.413
- Xavi Fores – Barni Racing Team +8.625
- Marco Melandri – Aruba.it Racing Ducati +14.903
- Loris Baz – Gulf Althea BMW Racing Team +17.301
- Leandro Mercado – Orelac Racing VerdNatura +21.482
- Jordi Torres – MV Agusta Reparto Corse +21.938
- Toprak Razgatlioglu – Kawasaki Puccetti Racing +24.939