Photo: World Superbike
MISANO WORLD CIRCUIT MARCO SIMONCELLI, Rimini, Italy – Ducati’s hopes for a world WSBK title took a major hit when lead rider Chaz Davies suffered a huge accident in the first race at the Italian Adriatic circuit. Leading Kawasaki’s Jonathon Rea by inches, Davies lost the front end and crashed on the last lap; Rea had nowhere to go and ran over his rival, crashing himself.
Davies ended up in hospital with a broken vertebra, while the win went to Kawasaki’s astonished Tom Sykes, who after winning pole position had been in fifth most of the race. First, surprise race leader Michael Van Der Mark on the Yamaha entry crashed while leading due to a rear Pirelli tire failure – the second time that’s happened in two races, mind, the first to Rea in Silverstone in England in the last event. Then on the last lap Marco Melandri crashed out of third, then when Davies and Rea collided Sykes was gifted the win. “I’m not proud, but it’s 25 points and I’ll take it” he said.
The second race, with the mixed-up grid created by the new series rules, was decidedly more interesting, if you don’t like crashes. Pole-sitter was Spaniard Jordi Torres on the BMW, whose bikes haven’t really been a factor for a couple of seasons. Beside him was fellow Spaniard Xavi Forés on the privateer Barni Ducati, and the two took off without any regard for the factory bikes behind them. Ultimately both riders suffered mechanical failures, especially hard for Torres who did a spectacular job on the BMW before having yet another Pirelli rear tire issue.
That left the door open for Ducati’s second rider, Marco Melandri – who sat out last season without a job offer – to take his first win of the season. He was never seriously challenged by the duelling Kawasaki duo of Rea and Tom Sykes, who finished second and third to consolidate their standings at the top of the series standings. Everyone gets a rest now for a few weeks until battle recommences in the States at Laguna Seca in July.
Turkish ace Kenan Sufuoglu once again showed why he`s been WSS champion five times by winning his fourth race of the 2017 series in style. He grabbed the lead early and held on to the finish with his Pucetti Kawasaki; sounds simple if you know how!
He was, however, challenged closely by French master Jules Cluzel on a Honda, who finished not far ahead of Federico Caricaluso on a Yamaha. American P.J. Jacobsen, fifth in the series to date, grabbed fourth on his MV Agusta, while Brit Kyle Smith managed to take fifth on his Honda.
World Superbike standings after 14 of 26 races (seven of 13 events)
- Jonathan Rea, U.K., Kawasaki Racing Team, 296 points
- Tom Sykes, U.K., Kawasaki Racing Team, 246
- Chaz Davies, U.K., Aruba.it Racing Ducati, 185
- Marco Melandri, Italy, Aruba.it Racing Ducati, 163
- Alex Lowes, U.K., Pata Yamaha, 141
- Michael van der Mark, Netherlands, Pata Yamaha, 115
- Xavi Fores, Spain, Barni Ducati, 110
- Leon Camier, U.K., MV Agusta, 89
- Jordi Torres, Spain, Althea BMW, 85
- Eugene Laverty, U.K., Milwaukee Aprilia, 79
World Supersport standings after seven of 12 races
- Lucas Mahias, France, GRT Yamaha, 105 points
- Kenan Sofuoglu, Turkey, Pucetti Kawasaki, 100
- Sheridan Morais, South Africa, Kallio Racing Yamaha, 76
- Jules Cluzel, France, CIA Landlord Insurance Honda, 75
- P.J. Jacobsen, U.S.A., MV Agusta, 68
Next event Laguna Seca, Ca., U.S., July 8-9.