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Thailand WSBK: Rea takes narrow race-one win from Sykes

Reigning World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea took his 2016 win tally to three from three in the first race at the Buriram circuit this morning but had to battle for 20 laps with team-mate Tom Sykes and only two-tenth separated them at the chequered flag.

Sykes took the lead from Rea after only a handful of laps when an uncharacteristic error from the Isle of Man resident allowed him through while polesitter Michael Van Der Mark shadowed the Kawasaki pairing after passing Ducati’s Chaz Davies.

Rea was content to sit behind the Huddersfield rider even though Sykes was able to pull a gap but his extra pace seemed to be his undoing as with four laps left, Rea went under the number 66 on the brakes into the last corner and took top spot after closin ghim down with the fastest lap of the race - a 1'33.936 on lap 14.


After finding some clear in front of him, Sykes re-grouped and managed to get back on to Rea’s rear wheel and had a look into the last corner but just didn’t have the front-end grip to pass on the brakes and had to give best to Rea as he took the 25 points.

Van Der Mark had a lonely rider for the final podium spot after a mistake saw him run off track and drop 1.8s to the leaders. The gap back to the two Ducati men was such that he was able to retain third place and take another rostrum for Honda.

Davies bagged fourth place after fending off several lunges from Aruba team-mate Davide Giugliano. The Italian was trying everything he could to get past the Welshman but asked too much of his front tyre with three laps to go, losing the front into the last corner in exactly the same crash as Davies had last year.

His crash promoted Markus Reiterberger into fifth place after the German had put in a quiet race, lapping consistently to cut his way through the field. Britain’s Alex Lowes had been challenging for a top spot early on but he ran off the track. The Derby-based rider then had to work his way back to sixth place, passing Pata Yamaha team-mate Sylvain Guintoli in the process.

Jordi Torres, on the second of the Althea BMWs, claimed eighth place with a fast-improving Alex De Angelis in ninth. Ioda Aprilia team-mate Lorenzo Savadori completed the top ten.

Leon Camier recovered from a bad opening lap to claw his way to 11th place with Roman Ramos in 12th. Matteo Baiocco ended in 13th, Xavi Fores 14th and Josh Brookes took the final point on the Milwaukee BMW.

Nicky Hayden went out of the race with an engine problem at half-distance while Karel Abraham dropped out of a potential top ten spot on his Milwaukee BMW.

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