Buriram WSBK: Rea cruises to first win of the season

Reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea cruised to his 55th career win and his first of 2018 ahead of Xavi Fores in the opening race in Thailand.

Buriram WSBK: Rea cruises to first win of the season
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Chaz Davies, Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Xavi Fores, Barni Racing Team
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Leon Camier, Honda WSBK Team
Alex Lowes, Pata Yamaha

Poleman Rea got the holeshot at the start ahead of Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes, Honda's Leon Camier and Barni Ducati man Fores.

Sykes scythed past Rea at the final corner at the end of the opening lap, though Rea did not let this stand and repaid the favour into the Turn 3 hairpin.

The 2013 champion made the same move stick at the last turn once more, but dropped to third at Turn 3 next time around after Rea and Camier eased ahead.

Rea proceeded to build a sizable advantage of close to a second over the following laps, while Sykes continued to fall down the field as Fores and his Ducati stablemate Chaz Davies moved through.

Camier, hounded by Fores, kept Rea honest at the front, but the Kawasaki rider responded emphatically with a fastest lap of 1m33.714s to extend his lead to 1.2s at mid-distance.

Rea's advantage shot up to close to two seconds with eight laps remaining as both Fores and Camier ran wide at Turn 3 as the former made a move for second.

Comfortable at the front of the pack, Rea eased to the chequered flag, while Fores broke away from the chasing Camier in the closing stages to secure his best-ever WSBK result.

Camier came under intense pressure in the final handful of laps from Davies, who recovered from a low-key ninth in qualifying.

The Honda man kept Davies at bay until the penultimate tour, when the Ducati rider slid underneath him at Turn 3. The Welshman held onto third across the line, while fourth secures Camier pole for Sunday's race.

Yamaha's Alex Lowes got the better of Sykes in the closing stages for fifth, while Michael van der Mark chased them home a further second back on the second Crescent-run machine.

Double Phillip Island winner Marco Melandri (Ducati) held onto a slender two-point championship lead after finishing a distant eighth, 10 seconds off the lead.

Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) headed Jordi Torres (MV Agusta) to round out the top 10.

Race results:

1 1 united_kingdom Jonathan Rea  Kawasaki 31'24.203
2 12 spain Xavi Fores  Ducati 1.550
3 7 united_kingdom Chaz Davies  Ducati 2.118
4 2 united_kingdom Leon Camier  Honda 2.981
5 22 united_kingdom Alex Lowes  Yamaha 7.258
6 66 united_kingdom Tom Sykes  Kawasaki 7.501
7 60 netherlands Michael van der Mark  Yamaha 8.500
8 33 italy Marco Melandri  Ducati 10.184
9 50 ireland Eugene Laverty  Aprilia 11.072
10 81 spain Jordi Torres  MV Agusta 11.178
11 76 france Loris Baz  BMW 24.062
12 32 italy Lorenzo Savadori  Aprilia 24.632
13 36 argentina Leandro Mercado  Kawasaki 26.114
14 40 spain Roman Ramos  Kawasaki 26.142
15 54 turkey Toprak Razgatlioglu  Kawasaki 26.320
16 68 colombia Yonny Hernandez  Kawasaki 30.665
17 99 united_states Patrick Jacobsen  Honda 32.625
18 45 united_states Jake Gagne  Honda 38.752
Ret 37 czech_republic Ondrej Jezek  Yamaha
Buriram WSBK: Rea takes pole by 0.003s

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