Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and his team-mate Tom Sykes dominated the first race of the Imola weekend, starting from pole and second place respectively, and easing ahead a massed rank of Ducati riders from the start.
Rea’s eventual margin of victory was 3.755 seconds ever Sykes as he extended his championship points lead to 42 points over Davies.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was finally third but came under late pressure from Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who had worked his way back up to fourth after losing places in the early laps, having run on under braking for the final chicane.
Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team Ducati) had no answer when Davies came past, and took fifth place at the flag, after a lonely last few laps.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba Racing IT Ducati Junior Team) was cleanly passed by Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK) with van der Mark sixth and Rinaldi seventh. VDM had been 12th off the line and had to make major early progress to take a top six, and a front row start in race two on Sunday.
Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was the top Aprilia finisher, in eighth.
Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) made up places to finish at the head of a three riders group, in ninth, with the official R1 of Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK) tenth and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 11th. Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) was 12th in his comeback race.
By Gordon Ricthie