Newly re-signed Tom Sykes took his factory Kawasaki to a lights-to-flag win in the first World Superbike race at Moscow in a race of hig-drama which saw Chaz Davies crash out of a podium place on the penultimate lap after tangling with Leon Haslam only a few minutes before.
Sykes was first into turn one and promptly cleared off. He was never headed and crossed the line with an eight-second lead over Marco Melandri while Eugene Laverty was mugged at the last corner for third by works Aprilia team-mate Max Biaggi.
The Irishman had ridden a clean and consistent race but his tyre started to wear heavily at half distance and he was bounced from second to fifth on lap nine by Haslam, Davies and Melandri but he was soon back in third when Davies ran wide, Haslam went for the gap and they collided with the BMW man going down.
Davies recovered from the grass and set off after the Toomebridge man, going two seconds a lap quicker. He went past with three laps left but then looked to miss a gear at turn three and ran out of track, crashing out of third place.
Laverty, meanwhile, inherited third behind Melandri but his tyre was so shot, Biaggi was able to reel him in and nip through on the brakes into the final corner, decreasing the amount of points he loses to Melandri in the title chase.
Haslam managed to pick himself up from the crash and took a creditable sixth place, losing fifth to Michel Fabrizio. Nico Canepa, Lorenzo Zanetti, John Hopkins and David Salom rounded out the top ten.
Reigning champion Carlos Checa collided with Jonathan Rea on lap three and crashed out but the hard-charging Irishman asked too much of his front Pirelli 12 laps later and also found himself in the kitty litter. Leon Camier took a gamble on wet tyres which didn't pay off but he still took a point in 15th.