Reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea dominated the opening race at Imola today, riding away from series leader Alvaro Bautista in second for his maiden 2019 win while polesitter Chaz Davies pulled out on lap one with a bike problem.
Rea passed Davies for the lead into Villeneuve and by the time they got to Acque Minerale, Davies’ race was done. It left Bautista in a lonely second place while Pedercini Kawasaki Toprak Razgatlioglu fought his way through to bag the final podium spot after a hard dice with Michael van der Mark.
Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti) effectively won a fight for third with van der Mark (Pata Yamaha) one lap early, leaving Leon Haslam a real possible for fourth place on the final tour. VDM held him off to take fourth, and top Yamaha rider on the day.
Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad ) was another rider with a definite podium in his sights until his bike slowed when he was in a clear third place, and he rode back to the pits to retire.
Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha) won a final battle with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha), as the still-sick British rider slowed from his podium battling position to be seventh behind Melandri. He had been told by his team to pull in if he felt faint.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Barni Ducati) held off wildcard rider Lorenzo Zanetti (Motocorsa Racing Ducati) for eighth. Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad was a lonely tenth.
Replacement rider for the injured Eugene Laverty (Team GoEleven Ducati), Tommy Bridewell, was a fine 12th on his first outing with the team and after only a handful of laps before the lights went out.
Leon Camier (Moriwaki Honda) missed the race with a shoulder injury after a Superpole crash.