Tom Sykes has made World Superbike history by taking a ninth consecutive victory at Donington Park while championship leader Jonathan Rea suffered a heavy fall from second place.
After early leader Chaz Davies tucked the front wheel of his Aruba.it Racing Ducati at Goddards on lap six, Sykes and Rea looked set for a heavyweight battle for Donington Park domination after breaking away from wildcard Leon Haslam.
Rea maintained a useful gap to Sykes throughout the middle third of the race until Sykes started his charge with a warning on lap 14. The Yorkshire rider nipped past up the inside at Melbourne Loop before having to resist as Rea carved his way back through at Goddards.
But three laps later Sykes made the move stick at the Melbourne Loop and blitzed the lap times in the closing stages to storm clear of Rea.
The championship leader looked comfortable for second place despite losing time to Sykes but with three laps to go Rea’s tyre suffered a blow out to send him off down Craner Curves.
With Sykes making World Superbike history with a new record of nine straight wins at the same circuit, Haslam was promoted to a surprise second place on the Puccetti Kawasaki but the drama continued to unfold behind the front-runners.
Alex Lowes, who was bumped back to 20th place after clashing with Eugene Laverty and Haslam at the first turn, stormed back up to fourth place on the final lap until Marco Melandri ran wide at the exit of the Melbourne Loop and on to the grass.
That enabled Lowes to storm through on the sprint to the final corner and claimed a maiden podium for the factory Yamaha team and his first since Thailand in 2015 for Crescent Suzuki.
With Melandri shuffled down to fourth place he just about kept ahead of Michael van der Mark with Leon Camier out of reach on the MV Agusta in sixth.
Leandro Mercado, who had climbed to as high as fourth midway through the race, ended up taking seventh for IodaRacing Aprilia with Davies recovering from his early fall to take eighth place.
Full World Superbike race one results from Donington Park
1. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10RR 23 laps
2. Leon Haslam GBR Puccetti Kawasaki ZX-10R +16.500s
3. Alex Lowes GBR PATA Crescent Yamaha R1 +19.170s
4. Marco Melandri ITA Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R +19.699s
5. Michael van der Mark NED PATA Yamaha YZF-R1 +21.454s
6. Leon Camier GBR MV Agusta RC F4 RR +23.376s
7. Leandro Mercado ARG IodaRacing Aprilia RSV4 +24.979s
8. Chaz Davies GBR Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R +26.988s
9. Jordi Torres ESP Althea BMW S1000RR +34.910s
10. Xavi Fores ESP Barni Ducati Panigale R +35.178s
11. Roman Ramos ESP Team Go Eleven Kawasaki ZX-10R +38.585s
12. Lorenzo Savadori ITA Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4 +39.824s
13. Eugene Laverty IRE Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4 +44.623s
14. Randy Krummenacher SWI Puccetti Kawasaki ZX-10R +52.539s
15. Raffaele De Rosa ITA Althea BMW S1000RR +58.875s
16. Ayrton Badovini ITA Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1m+
17. Alex de Angelis SMR Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1m+
18. Ondrej Jezek CZE Grillini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1m+
Did not finsh
Jonathan Rea GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10RR
Jake Dixon GBR RAF Reserves Kawasaki ZX-10R
Stefan Bradl GER Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2
Riccardo Russo ITA Guandalini Yamaha YZF-R1