Official KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes took turns to lead the thrilling 22-lap Saturday race in the FIM Superbike World Championship on their all-new Ninja ZX-10R machines but it was 2015 champion Rea who emerged with the race victory, as Sykes finished an eventual fifth.
With the two KRT WorldSBK riders starting from the front row after Sykes had qualified on pole and Rea had been third fastest after Superpole 2, the prospects were good from the start, in the first race at this level for the new model ZX-10R.
Rea and Sykes did the early running up front, with Rea then Sykes and then Rea again leading every one of the 22 laps. With up to nine riders forming one leading group and podium challengers all around right to the end the pressure was intense throughout, with Rea finally winning by resisting the late challenge of Ducati rider Chaz Davies.
‘JR’ was passed for a short time after Davies has went inside at the MG hairpin. Jonathan chose the best exit line to ensure Davies could not stay in front at the exit of the corner and won by 0.063 seconds. This was his 30th career win in this category.
Sykes, who had taken his 31st Superpole success earlier in the day rode his new Ninja ZX-10R in the lead from lap three to lap six but had to drop back as he lost ground in two key areas of the circuit. He rallied to finish fifth and score valuable championship points.