WorldSBK Race One: Rea Takes Thailand’s Race One
Jonathan Rea continued his winning streak, winning the Saturday race of the World SBK Championship round in Thailand on Saturday – his third successive victory after his double win at Phillip Island to launch the season, just two weeks ago. The Kawasaki rider had a perfect day, also setting a new pole record lap.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) joined Rea on the podium after a 20 lap race in stifling temperatures of 36°C.
The Northern Irish rider held on to the lead after a good start saw him take the holeshot from pole. Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), Sykes and Davies positioned themselves behind Rea’s Kawasaki ZX-10R in the early stages but none of them could match the world champion’s pace.
Davies won the battle for second, finishing six seconds behind Rea and just under two seconds in front of the pursuing Sykes. Melandri was just off the podium, less than a tenth of a second behind Sykes, whilst a good performance from Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) saw the Dutchman complete the top five.
Another solid race from Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) saw his good form continue in sixth place, with the top ten completed by Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) and rookie Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team).
Nearing the end of the race, in which the riders completed over 91km in the intense heat and humidity of Buriram, Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) dropped back from the fight for eighth with Torres and finished 11th.
A technical issue with the RSV4 RF of Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) at turn 5 on the final lap cost him points when he was running in seventh, whilst Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) crashed on lap 6 and suffered a DNF, though fortunately the Italian was unharmed in the incident.
WorldSBK Race 1 Results: 1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 2. Chaz Davies – Ducati 3. Tom Sykes – Kawasaki
WorldSBK Race Two: Rea Does The Double
Jonathan Rea claims his 2017 WorldSBK season start is his “best ever” after winning both races at the second round of the Superbike World Championship in Thailand over the weekend, plus setting a new pole lap record, all in stifling 35 degree heat.
In Sunday’s restarted race two at the Chang International Circuit, Kawasaki’s Rea took a brilliant win by just over four seconds from team mate Tom Sykes, who made it a Kawasaki one-two with a last lap move on Marco Melandri (Ducati) who ended third.
In the original Sunday race, a technical fault caused Italian Lorenzo Savadori to crash (Milwaukee Aprilia) at turn 12 and the race red flagged so debris could be removed from the track.
Rea had already made his mark in the shortened race. He’d started from ninth on the grid, due to the new reverse grid race two rules, but the 30 year old shot through the field to soon contest the lead with Melandri and was in front by the fourth lap.
The restarted 16 lap race saw Rea take control from the lights, the grid based on the positions at the end of the fourth lap of the earlier curtailed race. Locked in a battle with Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in the early laps he was able to pull away, securing over a four second advantage as he crossed the line.
He now leads the championship by 30 points from Davies, ahead of the third round of the season at Aragon in three weeks.
Rea then started from pole position in the restarted 16 lap race two on a sweltering Sunday, the 30 year old took advantage of the easier restarting position and he took off into the lead. Rea was understandably thrilled with his weekend:
“This is my best ever start to the season, I’m feeling good with the bike. I was so nervous about the ninth place start to be honest because this track is so hard to pass, especially with the speed of the Ducatis.
Melandri is so hard to pass, but I’m really lucky this weekend that I had sector three pretty dialled and as soon as I got into something there, and by T4 I put my head down and managed to snap Marco after three or four laps. This win is a massive thanks to all my team and all my mechanics; it’s been a hot weekend and they’ve been working relentlessly so these race wins are for them.”
Meanwhile, the Motul Thai Round was a successful weekend for Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) who finished Sunday’s race six seconds off the podium in fourth, having finished sixth in Race 1. Spaniard Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) followed the Englishman across the line for fifth.
A solid performance by Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) after the restart saw him fight through the pack from 19th to eventually finish sixth – having gone down on lap three at the third corner in the initial race, losing the front end and rejoining at the back of the field.
Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team), Roman Ramos (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team) completed the top ten.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) missed out on the points due to technical issues with his bike, which meant he was unable to take part in the restarted race.
Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) unfortunately crashed out at turn 12 after five laps of the restarted contest and did not finish, whilst Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) had to retire midway through the 16-lap second race of the afternoon due to a mechanical issue.
Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) crashed out of fifth under pressure from Torres at turn 6 with eight laps to go, whilst Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was advised by the marshals to stop six laps from the end of the race with smoke pouring from his MV Agusta 1000 F4 machine.
The WorldSBK riders return to action on the 31st March at the Pirelli Aragón Round, the third round of the 2017 season.
WorldSBK Race 2 Results (Restarted 16 Lap Race): 1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 2. Tom Sykes – Kawasaki 3. Marco Melandri – Ducati
Championship Standings After Round Two
1. Jonathan Rea – 100 points (Kawasaki) 2. Chaz Davies – 70 points (Ducati) 3. Tom Sykes – 62 points (Kawasaki) 4. Alex Lowes – 49 points (Yamaha) 5. Marco Melandri – 45 points (Ducati)
WorldSSP: Italian Caracasulo Takes Victory In Thailand
In a dramatic and incident packed world supersport race in Thailand on Sunday it was Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) who took a superb win in the heat of the Chang International Circuit, with Thai wild card Decha Kraisart (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) and Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) also on the podium.
Late drama saw Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini) in the hunt for the victory but the Honda rider was disqualified on the last lap for failing to react to a ride through, after an earlier penalty in which he was requested to concede three positions due to unsporting behaviour. Caricasulo took advantage for a great win by 0.793s from the impressive Kraisart, with 2016 sensation Tuuli three seconds behind the race winner in third.
Caricasulo had taken over the lead with seven laps to go, with the leader up until that point Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) retiring from the race seconds later due to a technical fault having led from pole from the start.
Thai rider Thitipong Warokorn (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) produced a superb result in fourth place, riding as a substitute for injured world champion Kenan Sofuoglu who is expected to return to action at round three in Spain. Meanwhile, fellow Kawasaki Puccetti Racing man Kyle Ryde was fifth in a hectic Thai race which took place in sweltering 37°C temperatures.
Also in the top ten were Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing), Aiden Wagner (GEMAR Team Lorini), Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Robin Mulhauser (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda).
In close succession early in the race Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) were forced out with technical problems and then Thai wild card Chalermpol Polamai (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) crashed out, having started second on the grid.
Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was given a ride through penalty due to finishing the warm up lap after the safety car, but failed to react to the penalty notification from the stewards and was subsequently disqualified.
Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing) crashed out of second place with 12 laps to go, with Smith in close proximity. Smith then had two run-offs and dropped down the order, fighting back with great pace before his late disqualification.
The WorldSSP riders return to action on the 31st March at the Pirelli Aragón Round, the third round of the 2017 season.
WorldSSP Results: 1. Federico Caricasulo – Yamaha 2. Decha Kraisart – Yamaha 3. Niki Tuuli – Yamaha
Australians: 8. Aiden Wagner – Honda 12. Lachlan Epis – Kawasaki
Championship Standings After Round 2
1. Roberto Rolfo – 30 points (MV Agusta) 2. Niki Tuuli – 27 points (Yamaha) 3. Federico Caricasulo – 25 points (Yamaha)