Aruba Ducati’s Chaz Davies has delighted the Italian home crowd with a second WorldSBK double win in as many years at Imola, taking a dominant victory by five seconds from reigning champion Jonathan Rea with Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes in third place.
Davies was again untouchable after he made his way through the pack in a re-started race two, going under Sykes on the brakes at Variante Bassa with 12 laps to go and then putting a one-second gap over the former champion in one lap to stamp his authority.
Rea made two uncharacteristic errors at Rivazza and then at Variante Bassa which pretty-much put paid to his challenge on lap one. The Isle of Man rider ran across the gravel and slipped from third to sixth, allowing Davies past to chase down leader Sykes while setting the fastest lap of the race.
The race was re-started after Ayrton Badovini’s Kawasaki let go on the run down to Rivazza and it proved to be a blessing for Davies as although he got a good start, he got boxed in at Tamburello and slipped back to 11th while Rea charged forward from eighth to fourth but on lap two it was stopped to commence a clean up process.
Davies jammed his way through at the second time of asking as Sykes made the holeshot and Leon Camier stuck his MV under the snout of Xavi Fores to claim third with Marco Melandri fourth, Rea fifth and Davies sixth.
Rea made short work of Melandri at Villneuve and Fores at Variante Alta and Melandri also passed the Spaniard but an error from Rea at Rivazza saw Melandri back in front. Rea then had to jink to the left on the run to Variante Bassa to avoid Melandri which upset his line and he braked a fraction too late, running across the gravel which allowed Melandri, Fores and, crucially, Davies back past.
Melandri ran straight on at Variante Alta on the next lap, which promoted Davies while Rea rode around the outside of Fores at Rivazza to close in on Melandri. He went under the little Italian at Tosa but was wide and the Ducati man was back past. Camier had been setting a scorching pace but crashed unhurt at Acqua Minerale, which gave Sykes some breathing space.
However, it was not to last as Davies, with some clear track, immediately dropped into the 1’46s and reeled Sykes in, passing him on the brakes at Variane Bassa and that was all she wrote.
It was then up to Rea to catch his team-mate, which he did with seven laps left to run but by then Davies was more than three seconds up the road and stretching the lead. Rea was able to muster a couple of 1’46s but it was nothing like enough.
Melandri ended up in a scrap with Fores for fourth place but couldn’t find a way past the Barni Ducati man and now drops to fourth in the championship, some 111 points behind Rea.
Alex Lowes made the best of a tough weekend and ended in sixth place after a battle with team-mate Michael Van Der Mark and the Milwaukee Aprilia of Eugene Laverty. Laverty and Lowes tangled yesterday which resulted in a 130mph get-off for the Monegasque but he recovered today to end in seventh.
Van Der Mark’s Pata Yamaha ran out of something in the closing laps as he was passed by Jordi Torres. The Spaniard didn’t race yesterday due to a bout of the squits and came from the back of the grid to bag eighth place with Tati Mercado completing the top ten.
It was another disaster for Honda as Nicky Hayden ended in 12th and Stefan Bradl 14th, Lorenzo Savadori splitting them.