Rea Doubles up in Thailand
Jonathan Rea has maintained his perfect start to the 2017 World Superbike championship with a third win from three in the Thailand opener as he stretched clear of Chaz Davies to extended his championship lead by another five points. The factory Kawasaki rider enjoyed a perfect start to the second round of the season having topped every free practice session before claiming Superpole over team-mate Tom Sykes. With momentum and pace to push Rea got away early and gradually built his advantage each lap to eventually win by over six seconds.
Nearest challenger Davies, who had to settle for two runner-up spots in Australia, lost time battling through the pack having started from fifth place but once up to second held off a charging Tom Sykes to take another second place finish. With Sykes unable to match his Kawasaki team-mate's superior pace he became involved in a last lap battle for the final podium spot against Aruba.it Racing Ducati's Marco Melandri, with the Italian missing out on the rostrum but takes small comfort from being on pole position for race two with the revised grid order rules for 2017.
Despite being off the pace of the factory Kawasaki and Ducati teams it was a solid showing by Pata Yamaha with Michael van der Mark fifth and Alex Lowes sixth in a relatively lonely race as Althea BMW's Jordi Torres was over 10 seconds further back in seventh. Leon Camier battled through some early issues with MV Agusta to claim eighth place ahead of the two Red Bull Honda riders of Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl who scythed through the back of the pack to complete the top ten finishers. With Xavi Fores fading late on in 11th it saw Randy Krummenchaer, Lorenzo Savadori, Markus Reiterberger and Roman Ramos completing the points paying places as Milwaukee Aprilia's Eugene Laverty failed to finish.
Jonathan Rea has strengthened his grip on the 2017 World Superbike Championship by completing another comfortable victory over Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes. Despite starting ninth by virtue of the reverse grid format, not even a full restart – which reduced the race to 16 laps – could stop his march to the front as he took the chequered flag by four seconds.
A fourth win in a row for Rea, the Ulsterman defied his lowly start to quickly make ground, with even Lorenzo Savadori's mechanical issues – which forced a red flag to clear debris – unable to interrupt his flow. Behind Rea, who now commands a 30 point lead in the standings, Sykes made it a Kawasaki 1-2 by defeating Ducati's Marco Melandri in the run to the line.
Rea's anticipated title rival Chaz Davies, meanwhile, suffered a fall on lap three and was forced to fight back from 19th to sixth place, just behind Alex Lowes in fourth and Jordi Torres in fifth. Nicky Hayden picked up a solid result for the new Red Bull Honda team in seventh, though team-mate Stefan Bradl crashed on lap five, along with fellow ex-MotoGP rider Eugene Laverty, though he would recover to 15th for a point.. Xavi Fores, Roman Ramos and Markus Reiterberger completed the top ten.