Can anyone stop Jonathan Rea and his Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10RR? The two-time reigning World Superbike Champion doubled two weeks ago at the Phillip Island SBK season opener, and set a record pole Saturday at Thailand’s Chang International Circuit for round two.Rea was the clear favorite heading into Saturday’s race one, and he held nothing back. The 30-year-old Northern led all 20 laps, eventually finishing 6.297 seconds ahead of Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Chaz Davies. Claiming third, 8.165 of a second back, was Rea’s teammate, the 2013 World SBK Champion Tom Sykes.
En route to his perfect 2017 record, Rea also set another new race lap record of 1:33.436 on lap five, and a new Superpole record of 1:32.957. Both were set on Pirelli race tires—no qualifying tires were available at this round. This was Rea’s 41st WSBK-career victory (26 for Kawasaki), and his 91st podium (49 for Kawasaki).“I did not know what my pace would be. I know it was fast enough to fight for the win but when I saw I had a gap of 0.4 seconds in the first lap I decided to try and put my head down as much as I could,” Rea said.“As soon as I broke the one second mark I knew that slipstreaming was not going to come into play for the riders behind, so I just set my own rhythm. My pace was 1:33 and honestly I made a couple mistakes on some laps and was still in the 1:33s. I managed to hold that rhythm and not try to over-push. It looks like we used the tire a little bit on the right side but I guess that was to be expected as we were six seconds up the road at the end. I am really happy with that race.”After Rea took the lead from pole, Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Marco Melandri, Sykes and Davies filed in behind, but couldn’t match Rea’s pace. Melandri remained in second until he was out-braked by teammate Davies on lap 14.Davies would remain in second, claiming his third-straight runner-up position of 2017 World Superbike. Sykes would also pass Melandri to claim third. Melandri settled for fourth, 8.239 seconds off the pace. The Italian was followed by the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK duo of Michael van der Mark (-11.384 seconds) and Alex Lowes (-14.862).Rounding out the top 10 were Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team), Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), the sole American in World Superbike, Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), and rookie Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team).Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty continued to have issues, and was forced to retire on turn five of the final lap due to a technical issue with the RSV4 RF. The other rider to DNF was Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki’s Ayrton Badovini, who crashed out on lap six (unharmed).The 20-rider World Superbike grid returns to the Thailand circuit Sunday for race two, which gets underway at 4 p.m. local time. beIN Sports will provide coverage at 9 a.m. ET Sunday.
KTM Super ADV R + Lightning Motorcycles’ Richard Hatfield
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends—the weekly Podcast brought to you by the editorial team at Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
In this week’s first segment, Editor Don Williams rides KTM’s new 1290 Super Adventure R. This hardcore ADV bike is big, powerful, and a true expert-level machine. Interestingly, it has multiple points of adjustment within its highly capable electronics package, and Don discovered several big surprises where the bike changed personality completely. His is an intriguing look at one of the most capable off road ADV bikes on the market today.
In the second segment, I chat with Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning motorcycles. This silicon valley based manufacturer was founded in 2006, and having racked up several notable race victories (including Pikes Peak in 2013 with the late Carlin Dunne on board) Lightning have certainly dominated in racing terms. In another first, Lightning has just announced a new rapid-charging battery technology that may well bring electric motorcycles into becoming real-world, practical transport.
So from all of us here at Motos & Friends… we hope you enjoy this episode!