2017 Aragon World Superbike Results, Race 1

The 2017 World Superbike Championship headed to Europe for the first time this season, the race action getting underway Saturday at Motorland Aragon.

Heading into round three, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea had a perfect score, the Brit doubling in both opening rounds in Australia and Thailand from pole. Though the two-time defending WorldSBK Champion had the upper hand, the favorite ahead of Aragon SBK was Aruba.it Racing Ducati Team’s Chaz Davies.

Why? The Welshman has dominated at the 3.15-mile circuit containing 17 corners, winning the past three of four races there.

2017 Aragon World Superbike Results, Race 1: Recap
2017 Aragon World Superbike Results, Race 1: Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea

Davies impressed immediately on the Ducati Panigale R, and qualified on pole Saturday morning ahead of race one, posting a new lap record of 1:49.319. Davies carried this momentum into Saturday’s race one, and capitalized on his pole by leading laps 1 through 16.

But with much pressure coming from the man who remained in second for those 16 laps, Rea, Davies crashed out on turn 16 of the penultimate lap. This placed Rea in the lead, and the Kawasaki ZX-10RR pilot remained there for the final two of 18 laps. With his victory, Rea was able to claim five of five races so far this season.

Rea would finish 4.058 seconds ahead of Davies’ teammate Marco Melandri, and 7.512 seconds ahead of the other Kawasaki Racing Team pilot, Tom Sykes.

2017 Aragon World Superbike Results, Race 1: Ducati's Marco Melandri
2017 Aragon World Superbike Results, Race 1: Ducati’s Marco Melandri

Rea now has a perfect 125 points, and is 47 points ahead of Sykes heading into race two, where Rea will start from ninth position due to the 2017 WSBK race-two grid changes.

“I made the strongest race I could do. Chaz was strong in areas where I was not, and I was strong in areas where he was not, so it was a case of me learning a lot in the race,” Rea says. “The stopping performance, direction change and grip conservation of the bike was really good today and I felt I still had a tire to fight with at the end, but in the middle section of the track, where Chaz was just in the front, I could not maximize any time to try to go away out front.

“The only thing I could do in that race was ride shotgun and put as much pressure on as I could and wait for a mistake. The door opened up a few times because Chaz missed a few apexes but finally he went down in the penultimate lap. First of all I hope Chaz is OK but for me it was a perfect opportunity to win another race. It was going to be very difficult to win a last lap battle with him in that last sector where he was so strong. It is a crash-gifted win but I will take it because I felt I rode well.”

2017 Aragon World Superbike Results, Race 1: Kawasaki's Tom Sykes
2017 Aragon World Superbike Results, Race 1: Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes

Following the race, Davies also offered comment: “After having missed FP1, we knew we were a bit behind in figuring things out so today I just wanted to do my race. I was trying to keep Rea at bay, passing him each time I had the opportunity to do so, but with five laps to go I started to feel that the bike was a bit more nervous and harder to manage in corner entry, and the weight was coming on and off the front. That’s what happened in the last corner, it locked without much warning and I lost the front. I was lucky to escape without injuries. Tomorrow we’ll try to get a good start and see if we can make our way to the front again. We want to win races.”

Finishing fourth was Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s Alex Lowes, the Brit finishing ahead of teammate Michael van der Mark and Althea BMW Racing’s Jordi Torres.

Rounding out the top 10 were IODARacing Aprilia RSV4 pilot Leandro Mercado, Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty, and the Red Bull Honda World Superbike duo of Stefan Bradl and the sole American in World SBK, Nicky Hayden.

MV Agusta Reparto Corse’s Leon Camier finished 11th, ahead of Althea BMW Racing Team’s Markus Reiterberger.

Suffering DNFs due to technical issues were Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki’s Aryton Badovini and Barni Racing Team Ducati’s Xavi Fores, whose Ducati Panigale R caught on fire. Before the incident, he was battling with Sykes for fourth.

The second race of 2017 Aragon World Superbike gets underway at 1 p.m. local time.

2017 Aragon World Superbike Results, Race 1 Podium
2017 Aragon World Superbike Results, Race 1 Podium

2017 Aragon World Superbike Results, Race 1:

Pos. Rider Time
1 Jonathan Rea 33’24.302
2 Marco Melandri 00’04.058
3 Tom Sykes 00’07.512
4 Alex Lowes 00’09.962
5 Michael van der Mark 00’12.302
6 Jordi Torres 00’18.995
7 Leandro Mercado 00’21.545
8 Eugene Laverty 00’27.309
9 Stefan Bradl 00’27.488
10 Nicky Hayden 00’27.663
11 Leon Camier 00’35.409
12 Markus Reiterberger 00’41.558
14 Randy Krummenacher 00’44.482
15 Alex De Angelis 00’45.915
16 Riccardo Russo 01’23.533