Rea sprints to commanding Imola win

Jonathan Rea takes charge again to secure his second WorldSBK win of the weekend after lap one error by Chaz Davies
Rea sprints to commanding Imola win

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Jonathan Rea notched up his second World Superbike Championship win at Imola with a commanding sprint race victory over Chaz Davies.

The Ulsterman, who dominated proceedings in race one, was once again in charge after snatching the lead at the end of the opening lap and was thereafter unchallenged to the chequered flag.

Rea might have faced a greater threat had pole sitter Davies – who held the advantage through the first turns – not out-braked himself at the Variante Bassa. Prior to that, Davies had fended off a lunge by Rea at Tosa to retain the lead coming into the final corner, only to have the back end of the Ducati step out, sending him deep into the corner.

Elevating Rea into the lead and dropping Davies behind team-mate Alvaro Bautista, though the Welshman got the better of his counterpart mid-way through the race, it was too late to mount an attack on Rea.

His 73rdcareer WorldSBK win and one that places him on pole position for this afternoon’s final full 20 lap encounter, Rea’s success sees him take another small chunk out of Bautista’s lead, the Spaniard suffering with his tyre choice as he slipped back to a distant third at the chequered flag.

Similarly, Toprak Razgatlioglu had looked on course for fourth only for his soft compound tyres – the same as Bautista’s – to drop away dramatically late on, allowing Michael van der Mark, Alex Lowes and Leon Haslam to get ahead in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

The Turk held onto seventh to at least earn himself a better grid slot for the final race, marginally ahead of a charging Tom Sykes on the BMW, who overtook ten bikes in ten laps to finish eighth after starting from the pit-lane.

Jordi Torres and Markus Reiterberger rounded out the top ten, the latter lucky to hold off a fast-moving Tommy Bridewell for tenth position. Growing in confidence aboard the Go Eleven Ducati, Bridewell stormed from 16thto 11thin a race of no DNFs to put him in with a great shot at the top ten for the final race.