Venue: Motorland-Aragon, Spain
Weather: Dry, Sunny, Windy.
Front-Row: Pole – Chaz Davies (Aruba.it-Ducati), P2 – Jonathan Rea (KRT), P3 – Tom Sykes (KRT)
All riders got away well off the line, but it was Jonathan Rea (KRT), forcing his way past Chaz Davies (Aruba.it-Ducati). The two began to pull away from the chasing pack, and engage in a ferocious race-long duel for top honours – tussling back and forth, swapping places at the front almost as regularly as the lap counter kept ticking down. However, April fools day had the cruellest of stings, as on the the penultimate lap, Davies was launched off his bike in a vicious highside at the final corner. Everyone was relieved to see him pick himself off the deck, as he had been trapped under the Ducati as the bike slid across the run-off area.
With Davies down, the battle for second was led by his teammate, Marco Melandri. Such is the difference in performance between the factory works outfits and the privateers, the battle for the remainder of the podium was between Marco Melandri (Aruba.it-Ducati) and Tom Sykes (KRT). The duo spent the first half of the race in a similar manner to their team-mates, before the Italian was finally able to open up a significant gap and hold it.
Pata-Yamaha’s Alex Lowes produced a solid recovery ride, having had to start in P12 following an engine failure during the morning’s Qualifying session. The 2016 Suzuka 8-hours winner carved his way through the field up to fifth place, taking considerable satisfaction from mugging his team-mate, Michael Van der Mark, in the closing laps.
Further down the field, the Red-Bull Honda duo of Stefan Bradl and Nicky Hayden confirmed the improvements made to the bike, by both finishing inside the top ten. They finished just behind The Milwaukee-Aprilia machine of Eugene Laverty in P8.
There were a number of fallers who failed to see the chequered flag. Aside from Davies, the most disappointed of these will be Xavi Forres. The Spaniard, had been having such a good weekend so far on the privateer BARNI-Ducati, but crashed on the sixth lap of the race, having been in fifth position at the time and bearing down on KRT’s Tom Sykes. Although he remounted, he spent the remainder of the race circulating at the back until his bike caught fire on the final lap. The others to tumble were GoEleven-Kawasaki’s Roman Ramos (Lap 4) and Ayrton Badovini (Grillini-Kawasaki) on the opening lap.
The result means that Jonathan Rea continues his astonishing form going, having taken victory in all five of the season’s races so far, and claimed 125 points. With team-mate Tom Sykes in second place but 47 points adrift, it is now hard to look beyond Rea for the Championship.
1: Jonathan Rea (KRT) 33’24.302 2: Marco Melandri (Aruba.it-Ducati) 3: Tom Sykes (KRT)
Eddie Hocknull @EddieHocknull