Tom Sykes took a shock victory in race one of the Rimini World Superbike round, a collision between Chaz Davies and Jonathan Rea gifting the Yorkshireman his second win of the season.
The 21-lap race was a dramatic one from start to finish. Off the line, Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark scythed his way up to second, and moved into the lead ahead of Rea at the start of lap two.
Davies demoted Rea to third on the following tour, while pole man Sykes had slipped behind the sister Aruba.it Ducati of Marco Melandri and was quickly dropping off the podium battle in fifth spot.
Dutchman van der Mark held onto the lead for the next 10 laps, at one stage opening his advantage out to over a second. However, once he had cleared Davies, Rea reeled in the Yamaha rider, the gap down to just 0.4 seconds at the start of lap 15.
Van der Mark kept Rea at bay as the lap went on, but crashed towards the end of the lap, a tyre problem seemingly the cause.
Twitter: Race leader @mickeyvdmark crashes! #RiderOK
#RiminiWorldSBK https://t.co/lVC46rQRkI (@WorldSBK)
The incident forced Rea to run off track, and while he retained the lead he now had Davies and Melandri on his tail.
The trio ran line astern over the next five laps, Melandri’s hopes of victory dashed when he slid off at Turn 4 on the final tour.
Davies held a slender 0.2s advantage over Rea as they entered the final few corners, but the Ducati rider tucked the front on the way into Turn 14 and was collected by Rea, Sykes cruising into the lead as a result.
Twitter: With 3 corners left @chazdavies7 and @jonathanrea crash!
#RiminiWorldSBK https://t.co/OMQ1aSEVqR (@WorldSBK)
Alex Lowes also benefited from the drama, the Yamaha rider securing his second podium of the season in second, while Rea remounted to finish third.
Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres missed the podium by two seconds in fourth, but will start Sunday’s race from pole alongside Barni Racing’s Xavi Fores and Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty.
Randy Krummenacher held Roman Ramos at bay for a season-best seventh, with Lorenzo Savadori and Raffaele De Rosa completing the top 10.
Leon Camier was running inside the top six when he crashed at Turn 8 in the closing stages of the race. The MV Agusta rider did remount and took the chequered flag in 11th, while Alex De Angelis, Ayrton Badovini, Ondrej Jezek and Melandri completed the points.