Aruba Ducati’s Chaz Davies has taken a runaway victory in the opening WorldSBK race at Imola which was stopped with seven laps to go after a collision between Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes resulted in the Milwaukee Aprilia smashing into the barriers at Rivazza and catching fire.
Davies had been untouchable from lights-out, dropping straight into the 1’46s and breaking the lap record with a 1’46.393 on lap three as he pulled out a near-seven second lead over second-placed Jonathan Rea with Marco Melandri in third.
Laverty was taken to the medical centre after the crash which happened on the run into Rivazza but later given the all-clear. It looked like Lowes was edging ahead of the Monegasque and the bikes touched, causing Laverty to fall off the side which left the RSV4 rider-less at more than 100mph.
Rea said in parc ferme that Davies was in a different race but still took 20 points to make his lead over Tom Sykes 71 in the points chase. Davies moves back into third ahead of Melandri who looked like he would have had to give best to Sykes had the final laps been run.
Xavi Fores had a lonely ride to fifth place while Leon Camier put in another fantastic performance to bag sixth place. The MV Agusta man got a poor start and slipped from fourth to seventh but made his way past Laverty with a pass at Tosa and immediately pulled a gap but Fores was too far up the road for him to catch.
Van Der Mark also put a move on Lowes for seventh at the same place he had been passed by Camier and it looked like Lowes would be past in short order but the pair then clashed and the race was stopped.
Roman Ramos took ninth with Stefan Bradl in tenth. Nicky Hayden retired at the end of lap four.