Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes was victorious in today’s opening WorldSBK race at Misano after Chaz Davies and Jonathan Rea both crashed with two corners left, handing the Huddersfield man a five-second win over Yamaha’s Alex Lowes in second place.
Davies on top after taking top spot from Rea after Michael Van Der Mark crashed out of the lead, getting spat off his Pata R1 at the fast turn 13. The rear tyre was off the rim as marshals pushed it away and the Dutchman looked puzzled at the incident.
The crash forced Rea to take evasive action and both Davies and Marco Melandri pounced. Rea made short work of re-passing the Italian and then set about chasing down Davies. The reigning champion managed to close down four-tenths of a second in the last corner but Davies then pulled out a gap.
On the last lap, Rea reeled in the same gap but then Davies lost the front right in front of Rea at turn 14 and left the Castletown resident with nowhere to go but straight over him. Davies was taken to the medical centre while Rea re-mounted to take the final podium spot. On the cooling down lap, Rea went to check on Davies who was still trackside with medics. He was subsequently taken to hospital in Rimini for checks.
Van Der Mark launched himself into the lead on lap two, passing Rea into turn three with Davies, Melandri and Sykes in tow. Davies nicked second from Rea three as Van Der Mark set the fastest lap of the race and attempted to pull a gap.
Everyone in the top ten used the same hard compound rear besides Davies with the Ducatis on a softer front so it was tough for the Dutchman to escape. It looked very much like both Rea and Davies were content to sit at a mid-1’35s pace but as soon as Van Der Mark began to pull a gap, Rea passed Davies and began to close him down.
Sykes, meanwhile, was dropping off the rear of the group and said afterwards that he found his pace and stuck to it. It looked very much like he would take fourth but Melandri lost the front going into turn four on the last lap, which promoted him to the podium and Lowes into fourth place.
When Davies and Rea went down. Sykes was gifted the win and he is now 46 points behind Rea in the title chase. Lowes’ 20 points means he leapfrogs Melandri into fourth place but the big loser was Davies who is now 91 points off the lead and his title challenge must now be over.
Away from all the drama, Jordi Torres did his usual trick of waking up halfway through the race and sliced his way through to fourth at the expense of Xavi Fores. Eugene Laverty looked to be struggling as the laps clicked down but he managed to keep enough pace for sixth, one ahead of Randy Krummenacher.
Roman Ramos, Lorenzo Savadori and Raffaele De Rosa completed the top ten but it was disaster for Leon Camier. The MV Agusta man was sitting in sixth place and catching Alex Lowes when he went down at turn eight with four laps left, re-mounting to finish in 11th.