Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea got his hunt for a seventh straight WorldSBK title off to a perfect start at Motorland Aragon, notching up his 100th win in the class.
Rea tussled with team-mate Alex Lowes in the early laps but then slowly pulled away, leaving Lowes to fight it out with Toprak Razgatlioglu, Chaz Davies and Scott Redding for the podium spots.
Lowes snatched second place from the Pata Yamaha man on the exit of the final corner, crossing the line with a 0.043s advantage as Redding deposed Davies for fourth.
Redding (Aruba Ducati) was the closest challenger for a while, until lowly qualifier Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven Ducati) came through.
Lowes slowed at half race distance and was then bpassed by Razgatlioglu and Davies, the latter having chosen an SCX tyre, sometimes used for full race distances but usually more suited to the ten lap sprint.
Lowes rallied with three laps to go and re-passed both Davies and Razgatlioglu, fighting from then on with the Turkish rider.
With Redding and Alvaro Bautista (HRC Honda) drawing themselves forward it was all on for a grandstand finish for the podium places behind Rea. Bautista crashed on the final lap, spoiling his chances of a strong Honda start.
As Rea celebrated across the line Lowes had dug in to re-pass Razgatlioglu and take second on the run to the flag, with the Yamaha rider third. Redding, who came close to recovering a podium, was fourth, Davies fifth.
Front row starter Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad) was sixth on the SCX, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba Ducati) seventh, Leon Haslam (HRC Honda) eighth and Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) ninth.
The top ten was rounded out by rookie rider, Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha).
Eugene Laverty was forced out with a bike problem on lap 14 of 18 while Tito Rabat’s Barni Panigale expired on lap three.