Imola WSBK: Rea ends Bautista streak with dominant win

Reigning champion Jonathan Rea ended Alvaro Bautista's World Superbike winning streak by dominating the opening race at Imola after polesitter Chaz Davies retired with a bike problem.

Imola WSBK: Rea ends Bautista streak with dominant win

While Davies kept the lead from the fast-starting Rea at Turn 1, the latter made a move stick at the Villeneuve right-hander before the Ducati rider's bike slowed down a few corners later.

Davies' retirement made his teammate Alvaro Bautista as Rea's main rival, but the Spaniard did not have the pace to win for the first time this year.

Rea quickly pulled away and was faster than Bautista throughout the race, cruising to the finish to win by 7.8 seconds after giving up nearly three seconds on the last two laps.

Bautista had a lonely race in second with Tom Sykes also looking set to comfortably take third for BMW before he had to retire with a mechanical problem.

That promoted the group behind to the fight for the final podium position. It was initially led by Yamaha duo Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark but the former, struggling with illness, later dropped out of the fight.

Van der Mark held off the Kawasakis of Toprak Razgatlioglu and Leon Haslam for a while but the Turkish rider made a move soon after Sykes retired.

Razgatlioglu was closely followed by van der Mark for most of the race, but the duo began fighting in the late stages.

The Dutchman was slightly wide and unsuccessful when he tried to make a move at Rivazza, but he then passed Razgatlioglu at Tamburello on the penultimate lap.

Razgatlioglu however was back in third at Tosa, a position he held on to throughout the final lap.

The Dutchman instead focused on defending from Haslam, whose two mistakes at Variante Alta kept him out of the fight for several laps.

Haslam ultimately had to settle for fifth as Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha) led Lowes for sixth.

Barni Ducati's Michael Ruben Rinaldi recovered from a big qualifying crash to eighth, followed by Ducati wildcard Lorenzo Zanetti and BMW's Markus Reiterbeger.

Tommy Bridewell (Go Eleven Ducati), who is replacing the injured Eugene Laverty, finished 12th in his first WSBK appearance in almost a decade.

Sandro Cortese crashed out at Turn 12 while Leon Camier did not take the start after he injured his shoulder in a qualifying accident.

Race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Laps Gap
1 1 United Kingdom Jonathan Rea
Kawasaki 19
2 19 Spain Alvaro Bautista
Ducati 19 7.832
3 54 Turkey Toprak Razgatlioglu
Kawasaki 19 19.291
4 60 Netherlands Michael van der Mark
Yamaha 19 19.968
5 91 United Kingdom Leon Haslam
Kawasaki 19 20.111
6 33 Italy Marco Melandri
Yamaha 19 31.846
7 22 United Kingdom Alex Lowes
Yamaha 19 32.024
8 21 Italy Michael Ruben Rinaldi
Ducati 19 34.107
9 87 Italy Lorenzo Zanetti
Ducati 19 34.814
10 28 Germany Markus Reiterberger
BMW 19 40.196
11 81 Spain Jordi Torres
Kawasaki 19 51.426
12 46 United Kingdom Tommy Bridewell
Ducati 19 55.235
13 80 Spain Hector Barbera
Kawasaki 19 56.539
14 23 Japan Ryuichi Kiyonari
Honda 19 1'01.025
15 52 Italy Alessandro Del Bianco
Honda 19 1'27.025
11 Germany Sandro Cortese
Yamaha 14 5 Laps
66 United Kingdom Tom Sykes
BMW 9 10 Laps
7 United Kingdom Chaz Davies
Ducati 1 18 Laps
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