Aragon WSBK: Dominant Rea scores landmark 100th win
Jonathan Rea claimed a landmark 100th race win in the World Superbike Championship with a dominant display in the season opener at Aragon.
Six-time WSBK champion Rea made a clean start from pole position to hold the lead into Turn 1, with Alex Lowes jumping from fourth to second to make it an early Kawasaki 1-2.
The two riders quickly pulled away from the rest of the field, stretching out an advantage of 1.3s over the Ducati of Scott Redding just one lap into the 18-lap contest.
Rea and Lowes engaged in a tight scrap for victory in the first half of the race, the gap between them remaining within half a second with Lowes continuously pressuring his more experienced teammate for the lead.
But from lap 9 onwards his pace suddenly began to drop and he fell into the clutches of factory Yamaha rider Toprak Razgatlioglu, who had sensationally charged from 10th on the grid to move up to second by lap 5.
With Lowes out of the picture, Rea cruised to the finish, taking the chequered flag by 3.9s to start his title defence with a lights-to-flag win.
Behind, Lowes and Razgatlioglu engaged in a long battle for second position which was eventually decided in favour of the Kawasaki rider.
Razgatlioglu had initially passed Lowes for second but he couldn’t shake off the 30-year-old, the two running virtually nose-to-tail for the final laps with GoEleven’s Chaz Davies also in the mix.
The duo traded position several times in the final laps and the Yamaha rider appeared to have got the upper hand when he passed his rival into Turn 8 on the last tour. But Lowes fought back on the drag race to the finish line, pipping Razgatlioglu by just 0.043s to make it a Kawasaki 1-2.
Redding recovered from a difficult middle half of the race to finish as the top Ducati in fourth, passing Davies’ customer Panigale V4 R with just a lap to run.
BMW’s star rider Tom Sykes slipped to the lower reaches of the top 10 after starting on the front row, before regaining some of the lost ground on his way to sixth, ahead of the second factory Ducati of Michael Ruben Rinaldi.
Leon Haslam was classified eighth on the Honda after his teammate Alvaro Bautista crashed on the final lap, as GRT’s Garrett Gerloff and factory Yamaha racer Andrea Locatelli completed the top 10.
Michael van der Mark finished 11th in his first race for BMW, while MotoGP convert Tito Rabat was forced to retire from his maiden WSBK event.
|7||21||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||8.345|
|11||60||Michael van der Mark||BMW||21.154|
|View full results|
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