Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea extended his WorldSBK winning streak to five in race one at Motorland Aragon after Chaz Davies crashed out at turn 16 with only two laps left to run.The pair had put a big gap on third-placed Melandri and were swapping paint for the lead but a small error from Davies saw him lose the front and go down, getting trapped under his Panigale before disengaging and stalking to the safety barrier.
It means that Rea takes an historic 200th win for Britain in the championship and extends his lead over Davies by 25 points at a track where the Welshman has been dominant in recent years. The crash promoted Melandri to second with Sykes in third but more than seven seconds behind his team leader.
Alex Lowes put a bad morning - which featured a crash in FP3 and an engine failure in Superpole - behind him and worked his way through the pack from 12th, passing Pata Yamaha team-mate Michael Van Der Mark in the process, to take another fourth place.
Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres made up for a poor start and battled through sixth place while Tati Mercardo won the battle of the Aprilias, taking his Ioda bike to seventh, one place ahead of the Milwaukee RSV4 of Eugene Laverty. Stefan Bradl and Nicky Hayden were locked together in ninth and tenth with Leon Camier ending in 11th.
Davies, Melandri and Rea opted for the development rear Pirelli SC1 as the track temperature was right on the cusp of where the soft and medium tyres would work. It was a gamble as Rea did his race simulation yesterday on the softer of the options so neither of the two front men knew how it would work over a distance.
Davies took the lead into turn one but Rea was pastat turn six. Davies then used the slipstream to get on to Rea’s rear wheel and went back past on the brakes at the end of the back straight. Melandri and Sykes exchanged paint on lap two for third but the leaders were almost a second up the road by the start of lap four.
Xavi Fores was sitting pretty in fifth place but crashed out at turn one with 13 laps to go, re-mounted but then had to ditch his Barni Panigale at the end of the race as it caught fire but he took his time bailing out.
Lowes fought his way up to eighth by lap seven and was as fast as Sykes and Melandri, so it didn’t take him long to get sight of Van Der Mark’s back wheel. He passed Mercardo for sixth with 11 left to run while Rea and Sykes began their scrap for the lead in earnest.
Rea passed the Ducati at the mini-Corkscrew and held the lead until the line before Davies made a move into turn one. Rea was back at him at turn two but Davies was having none of it and re-took the lead a lap later. Rea seemed to settle now and plan a move in the first half of the lap as Lowes passed Van Der Mark for fourth.
With three to go, Davies and Rea were at it again but Davies was again the better man but then, with two left, disaster struck the Powys-born rider which leaves him with a 55-point deficit to Rea and pushed down to third place in the points standings as Sykes jumps to second.
Race two grid
Lowes Van Der Mark Torres
Mercado Laverty Bradl
Sykes Melandri Rea