Aruba Ducati’s Chaz Davies ruled supreme at World Superbike Imola as the Welshman took his second race win of the weekend ahead of Kawasaki duo Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes.
Davies controlled his way to another 25 points courtesy of a carbon copy of his race one success on Saturday, as he dominated on the Panigale from the very first lap right up until the chequered flag.
It was a weekend to remember for the 29-year-old as his second 50-point haul of the season saw him cut Rea’s lead in the title standings to 35 points.
Rea held off his team-mate Sykes to take second, but the Ulsterman will be ready to move on to Sepang after a mildly disappointing weekend in Italy where he failed to challenge Davies with anything like his best efforts.
Davies’ victory was a masterful exhibition in leading from the front, as he powered the Panigale off the start line and down into Turn 1 ahead as his team-mate Davide Giugliano – despite a good kick off the line – got swamped by first Rea and then Sykes into Tamburello.
After that it was pretty much plain sailing for the race winner, as he increased the gap lap-by-lap and with the two Kawasakis dicing for second he was able to pull the lead out to over 3-seconds by lap 12.
Like the first race at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Sykes and Rea were stuck in a lonely fight for second but the Yorkshireman failed to land a significant blow on his championship-leading team-mate and Rea was able to hold on to second despite significant issues on his ZX-10R.
It is apparent the world champion is not enjoying the Kawasaki quite as much as he did last season, with his consistency struggling due to him having to ride on the edge a little more than he would like to.
Despite the difficulties, Rea will move on from the Imola weekend in the knowledge that he has a title battle on his hands as Davies’ win cut the deficit by ten points and that leaves a mouthwatering Sepang clash in two weeks time.
Giugliano took fourth on the Aruba Ducati, making the most of what he could and Leon Camier continued to impress on the MV Agusta as he finished a superb fifth, just ahead of Alex Lowes on the Pata Yamaha.
Lowes sixth-placed finish will be some welcome news for the Yamaha squad, after team-mate Sylvain Guintoli’s huge highside during qualifying put him out of action.
Following the Pata Yamaha of Lowes in seventh was Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres, just ahead of the Honda duo of Nicky Hayden and Michael Van Der Mark as Xavi Fores rounded out the top ten on his Barni Racing Ducati.
Milwaukee BMW saw another testing weekend come to a close with a disappointing climax as Josh Brookes finished 13th, and although in the points, a whopping 41-seconds behind the race winner. His team-mate Karel Abraham was unable to finish the race.