SPORT

WSBK Aragon: Rea tastes victory as Ducati pile on the pressure

The World Superbike grid rolled into MotorLand Aragon this weekend for the first of the European rounds.

As Marco Melandri lined up on pole position from Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes, it wasn’t clear as to how things would pan out; and although the obvious choice for the race win would be Rea, he has only managed two podiums out of the four races we’ve seen this season, which is a far cry from his dominating force last
year.

However, he did manage to add a few points to the championship table after race one at MotorLand  by clinching a one and a half second victory from Chaz Davies and Xavi Fores.

As is becoming more commonplace this year, the race however, was not without incident.

Just three laps in, Leon Camier crashed out at turn 11, collecting the unsuspecting Jordi Torres and Lorenzo Savadori as he went, and this brought out the red flag.

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Thankfully the latter two swiftly got up and walked away – with Savadori even making the restart – but Camier was not so lucky. He was transferred to hospital, where he was said to be conscious and stable, but reported to have suffered a closed chest trauma.

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This is motorcycle racing however, so the race restarted with minimal upset, and it was Alex Lowes who soon found himself in front; after a mistake from Rea let his fellow Brit through. But as we all know, Rea isn’t one to lay down and take it, and he was soon back in front, with the Yamaha slowly dropping back.

With the Yamaha dropping further down the field, the Ducatis began to work their way up.  And whilst Fores and Rea battled upfront, the Panigales of Davies and Melandri started to gain ground. A mistake from Melandri however soon saw him out on the curb, which allowed Davies through to then chase down, and eventually pass, Fores.

In fact, there were four Ducatis in the top eight. Joining Melandri and Davies for the European rounds is Michael Ruben Rinaldi, 2017 European Superstock 1000 champion. It was quite a performance from Rinaldi, who after only two tests on the machine was fighting in the top ten throughout the race and is
surely a name to watch out for over the next few rounds.

It is a fact that World Superbike is getting more exciting to watch this year – finally – and it is getting closer too. This year, the top 15 were separated by 28 seconds, compared to last year’s 46 seconds.

At the moment, we are only seeing the “usual suspects” fighting up the sharp end, but you can’t deny that it is getting closer and so far, there haven’t been any runaway victories.

World Superbike Race 1:

  1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team – 31:38.578
  2. Chaz Davies – Aruba.it Racing Ducati +1.450
  3. Xavi Fores – Barni Racing Team +1.473
  4. Marco Melandri – Aruba.it Racing Ducati +6.108
  5. Michael van der Mark – Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team +8.932
  6. Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team +9.450
  7. Alex Lowes – Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team +9.985
  8. Michael Ruben Rinaldi – Aruba.it Racing Junior Team +19.303
  9. Toprak Razgatlioglu – Kawasaki Puccetti Racing +26.081
  10. Roman Ramos – Team GoEleven Kawasaki +26.571
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