IMOLA, Italy – Four-time and defending World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea finally put himself in the win column this year with a victory Saturday at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
Polesitter Chaz Davies got off the line first during Saturday’s race, with Rea giving pursuit in second. Things went sour quickly for Davies, who suffered a mechanical issue on his Ducati and was forced to retire.
That handed the race lead to Rea while Álvaro Bautista, who had won every World Superbike race so far this year, moved into second.
As the race wound on, Rea easily built his lead over Bautista. Every lap Rea added to his lead, slowly pulling out to a comfortable margin over Bautista in second. Bautista was also running by himself as he pulled away from Tom Sykes in third.
Rea crossed the finish line nearly eight seconds clear of Bautista to emphatically take his first triumph of the season for Kawasaki.
While Rea and Bautista were well clear of the rest of the field, the battle for third proved to be the best race of the day. Sykes was forced to retire with a mechanical issue, opening the door wide open as riders battled for the final podium position.
Michael van der Mark and Toprak Razgatlioglu engaged in an intense battle in the closing laps for third, with the pair trading paint as they fought tooth and nail for third. Razgatlioglu emerged the victor between the two, earning his first World Superbike podium in the process.
Van der Mark ended up fourth, with Rea’s Kawasaki teammate Leon Haslam completing the top-five.