WorldSBK Catalunya: Lights-to-flag win for Rea| Gordon Ritchie at Catalunya | WorldSBK
Reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea took a lights-to-flag victory in the opening race at Catalunya this afternoon, crossing the line with a two-second advantage over Scott Redding who came through from the third row to take second on the Panigale V4R.
Redding’s Aruba Ducati team-mate Chaz Davies took the final podium spot after also suffering from another poor qualifying, making the Welshman’s life hard for himself.
At the flag, after 20 laps of the first-time WorldSBK Catalunya circuit, Rea had a 2.625 advantage over Redding, lifting himself over 40 points ahead in the overall standings.
He dedicated his win the recently injured Ana Carrasco, Provec Kawasaki’s WorldSSP300 rider, who had to miss her home race.
As the race progressed Redding caught back to and passed Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GoEleven Ducati) for second and then set about trying to reel in Rea, who had the same A-B tyre selection, front and rear.
The final podium place was taken by Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), making his now familiar run through from a relatively poor Superpole qualifying position.
Fourth for Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) came after battles with other riders in podium contention were resolved by their fading pace and his constant pressure.
Alvaro Bautista (HRC Honda) was almost seven seconds down at the flag on an X rear tyre, but he won the war for fifth place. At the flag, a 1’49 lap for Rinaldi saw him finish seventh, one place behind Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team). Rinaldi was top independent rider in race one.
A strong Friday led to a very strong Saturday for American rider Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha), who placed eighth, 15 seconds down on Rea but three seconds up on the second KRT Kawasaki of Alex Lowes.
Leon Haslam (HRC Honda) was tenth, heading up a three-rider group that included 11th placed Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and 12th placed first time WorldSBK rider, Jonas Folger (Bononvo Action by MGM Yamaha).