Did You Miss the First Road Race of the Season?
Race one started out with a dash to the first corner—as per usual—but instead of the front runners leaving the pack behind, something amazing happened. A long line of motorcycles started fighting for the front. As the race continued, that train slowly shortened to about six riders and four different manufacturers!
As minutes ticked away, four different riders took possession of first position, then just before the halfway point of the race, disaster struck. Marco Melandri, who had led the race in earlier stages, came in fast on Alex Lowes tail. Melandri braked and turned out wide, narrowly avoiding a crash with Lowes, but he wasn’t able to compensate for the maneuver. The number 33 Panigale coasted off track and low sided. Though Melandri was able to rejoin the race, his bid for victory was done, and he eventually came into the pits.
Back at the front, dicing between Lowes, Sykes and Rea heated up. Each rider contested the other, taking and relinquishing the lead, but it was Jonathan Rea that took first spot, followed by last year’s championship runner-up Chaz Davies.
Race Two was just as exciting as Race One with even more lead changes, and a chasing group that was even larger. This time Eugene Laverty and Xavi Forés joined the battle for first as new gridding rules shuffled the starting order. However, some of the old mainstays quickly showed up to ruin that parade.
In the end, Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies managed to squeak out a small lead over the rest of the pack. The two fought back and forth for the final two laps, Chaz was in the lead rolling into the last lap, but in a smooth corner transition, Jonny managed to sneak up the inside on his Ducati rival. The two motorcycles drag raced off the final corner, Davies using the draft to get an advantage, but Jonathan Rea manage to eek out a .025 second lead across the line.
Our American representative in WSBK, Nicky Hayden, finished 11th in Race One and retired after crashing in Race Two. Hopefully, the Kentucky Kid will be ready to give it a shot up front when WSBK returns to Motorland Aragon next month!