WorldSBK series leader Jonathan Rea bounced back from his crash yesterday in fine style to win the second race at Donington Park and bring to an end Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes unbeaten streak at the Leicestershire track.
Sykes was going for a record tenth win in a row but reigning champion Rea had other ideas and smashed his way through the pack on lap one to go from tenth on the grid to the lead by the time they went into Redgate for the second time.
Rea was never again headed in the 23-lapper but Sykes, who came through from ninth after his win yesterday, closed him down to just over one second with two laps to go as the pair exchanged fastest laps. Rea had it under control, though, and stretched the gap again on the final lap from 1.1s at the line to 1.6 at sector three which gave him time for a stand-up wheelie across the line.
Chaz Davies had to fight his way through from 15th on lap one as he got tangled up in an incident with Michael Van Der Mark, Tati Mercado and Leon Haslam out of Goddards and ended up on the grass. The Aruba Ducati man picked his way through, passing Pata Yamaha’s Van Der Mark at Melbourne on the penultimate lap to limit the points damage.
It was a spirited ride from Davies to make up for his crash yesterday but now chasing down Rea’s 75-point advantage is a massive mountain to climb for the Welshman and he may have to settle for a second-place battle with Sykes, whose deficit to Rea is now 55 points.
Ducati team-mate Marco Melandri had a shocker, however, as the chain came off his Panigale at McLeans with 15 laps left to run.
Van Der Mark, who has been drafted into Yamaha’s works Suzuka team, was fortunate not to get more tangled in the lap one incident. He got tied up with Mercado on the exit of Goddards and the Argentine rider took evasive action into the side of Haslam and it was the Derby rider who came off worst, sliding into the gravel.
In British Superbikes, riders are not allowed to re-mount crashed bikes but no such rule exists in WorldSBK - which Haslam probably forgot but he can be happy with his performance from yesterday and how he has adapted to having full electronics again - albeit only for one round.
Alex Lowes put in another solid performance to take fifth behind his Pata-backed team-mate with Leon Camier proving once again that he is more than worthy of a better package underneath him, taking sixth place in front of the almost-factory Barni Ducati of Xavi Fores.
In a race of serious attrition, Roman Ramos bagged eighth place while wildcard Jake Dixon rode to a massively impressive ninth place on a BSB-spec bike equipped with virtually no electronics and a stand-in data engineer. The RAF Reserves Kawasaki man finished ahead of Rafaelle De Rosa and Stefan Bradl.
Eugene Laverty’s woes continued as he crashed at Coppice and Milwaukee Aprilia team-mate Lorenzo Savadori had to retire right at the end of the race. Jordi Torres went down at Foggy’s and Mercado’s race ended in the same place, coating the track in gravel. Alex De Angelis went down at Coppice too while Ayrton Badovini snuck across the line five laps down after pitting in but still picked up two points for 14th and last place.