Lausitzring, Germany – Chaz Davies took Race 1 at the 10th round of the World Superbike series for Ducati with a flawless performance on Saturday as Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea crashed out.
He failed miserably in the wet on Sunday, however, as Rea forged ahead to an emphatic win in treacherous conditions, extending his championship lead by one point to 46 with three rounds remaining.
Davies led from pole into the first corner, before charging ahead to create a gap to his nearest rival Sykes. By lap five Davies was three seconds ahead with Sykes, team-mate Jonathan Rea and Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia) fighting for second.
Drama struck early when reigning champion Rea crashed out on lap eight; he walked away uninjured, but furious after a tough weekend so far. Then Savadori crashed out of podium contention just after Rea, and BMW’s local hero Markus Reiterberger was forced to retire early on lap nine with technical problems.
With Rea and Savadori out, Honda’s former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden was able to focus on chasing down Sykes but couldn’t match his pace and had to settle for third.
Davies crossed the finish line 10.5 seconds ahead of Sykes to become only the third rider in World Superbike history to win n three different makes on bike in the same country, having won at the Nurburgring with BMW and Aprilia and now the Lausitzring on a Ducati.
BMW’s Jordi Torres came home fourth after battling with Leon Camier (MV Agusta) and Michael van der Mark (Honda) who finished fifth and sixth.
Davies’ team-mate Davide Giugliano finished seventh ahead of Pata Yamaha rider Alex Lowes, who came home eighth after a disappointing morning. Lowes’ team-mate Sylvain Guintoli gave a solid performance in his first race back from injury, leading Ducati privateer Xavi Fores as they rounded out the top 10.
Rain began to fall during the German national anthem as riders were lined up on the grid, delaying the start of the race twice.
When the race finally got under way, 47 minutes late, Sykes got the hole shot, leading Davies and Rea into Turn 1 - only to run wide, allowing Rea to take advantage and shoot ahead.
Hayden had a bad start with a wheelie off the line, got caught in the first-corner traffic and dropped back to 17th.
Sykes was the first victim of the weather, crashing out at Turn 10 on the very first lap, leaving team-mate Rea to extend his lead in both this race and the championship standings, although Sykes later rejoined and was able to salvage four vital points by finishing 12th.
Savadori, Ducati’s Davide Giugliano, Camier and veteran Alex De Angelis had great pace in the wet and soon hunted down Davies. Giugliano charged ahead into second before a highside saw his chances of a podium finish disappear on lap five, one lap after Savadori crashed out after setting the fastest lap of the race.
De Angelis judged his race perfectly, neatly cutting through the early chaos and loking after his tyres to come home second, 9.4s behind Rea and nearly four seconds clear of Fores in third.
Camier brought his MV Agusta home, while Guintoli showed he was back in form getting the better of a battle for fifth with Saturday winner Davies.
Milwaukee BMW rider Josh Brookes showed his wet-weather ability by finishing the treacherous race seventh, after Honda’s Michael van der Mark slid out, picked up the bike and rejoined to finish eighth ahead of Kawasaki privateer Roman Ramos and Hayden.
Kawasaki’s Kenan Sofuoglu took the hole shot from pole position and led into the first corner, ahead of Finnish wildcard Niki Tuuli (Yamaha) and Jules Cluzel on the works MV Agusta. Tuuli gave Sofuoglu a run for his money by stealing his lead before the end of the first lap and dominating the next lap but the reigning world champion soon showed the new kid on the block was boss, retaking the lead and pulling away to win by 1.757s.
Cluzel, in turn, got the best of an early dice with Honda privateer Christoffer Bergman to break away and come home a comfortable third.
Championship contender Randy Krummenacher had a difficult start on the second factory-supported Kawasaki, falling back some places heading into the first corner. Once he got up to speed, he began to work his way back up the field and before long caught up to Bergman.
Birthday boy Gino Rea (Kawasaki) looked strong in the early stages of the race but was forced to retire on lap eight with technical problems.
Honda riders PJ Jacobsen and Federico Caricasulo took the fight for fourth to Krummenacher in the closing stages. The Swiss fought hard to hold them off but couldn’t match their pace on the final lap and came home sixth behind Jacobsen and Caricasulo.
Lorenzo Zanetti brought the second factory MV Agusta home ahead of Bergman, who fell back to eighth, with his team-mates Kyle Smith and Hikari Okubo rounding out the top 10.
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