Reigning WorldSBK Champion put on a riding masterclass to take a lights-to-flag victory in the opening race at Buriram and make it three victories from three races to increase his championship lead over Chaz Davies by another five points.
Rea’s race run in free practice two was indicative of the pace he was able to run and it proved to be the case with the Castletown resident edging away lap by lap and never drop out of the 1’33s until the last lap to take victory by a little over six seconds from the Aruba Ducati of Chaz Davies while Tom Sykes, on the second Kawasaki, stole the final podium spot from Melandri into the final corner on the last lap.
From the second row, Davies got stuck behind Sykes in fourth and had to put in a ‘not been seen before’ pass at the 100mph turn seven which stood the Hudderfield man up and allowed Davies to stick a sight on Melandri who had escaped on the back wheel of Rea albeit half a second in arrears.
It took Davies ten laps to catch Melandri but went past the little Italian at turn four but it was too late to do anything about the leader.
As Rea vanished into the distance with consistent 1’33s lap times, Davies fought his way forward to while Michael Van Der Mark and Alex Lowes battled it out for fifth place while Eugene Laverty, Xavi Fores and Jordi Torres were fighting over seventh.
Van Der Mark put his Pata Yamaha underneath team-mate Lowes on lap three and the never looked back but didn’t have the pace to do anything about the Dutchman and ended the race three second behind. Torres won the battle for seventh as Leon Camier again showed grit and determination to come through to grab eighth.
Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl completed the top ten with Fores’ Barni Ducati slipping back to 11th, one ahead of Randy Krummenacher. Laverty, who had a 2013 RSV4 chassis shipped in, was sitting pretty with a top-seven result in the bag but on the last lap, a technical problem put him out with a couple of corners to go. Milwaukee Aprilia Team-mate Lorenzo Savadori was 13th.
Grid for race two
Melandri VD Mark Lowes
Torres Camier Hayden
Sykes Davies Rea