The UK round of the World Superbikes Championship takes place at Donington Park this weekend and it all is in the shadow of the Nicky Hayden’s tragic accident. Everybody is racing in the name of him. After the nice and very touching tribute to him on the main straight then a race 1 did start.
Tom Sykes started from pole position ahead of his team mate Jonathan Rea and Ducati’s Chaz Davies. Alex Lowes, Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty started from the row 2.
The very experienced rider Leon Haslam entered the race weekend as the wild card racer. Also talented Jake Dixon was there as the wild card rider.
Honda did race just with Stefan Bradl.
The sky was cloudy so there were some worries about how the weather would look like during the race. Luckily it stayed dry until the chequered flag.
When the race started it was Chaz Davies who made it to the lead. The Kawasaki duo were behind him, as Sykes was 2nd and Rea 3rd.
Leon Haslam was a little bit aggressive and went a little bit wide which meant Laverty was wide as well and he pushed Alex Lowes off track. Lowes was P19 after that incident.
Already in the 2nd lap Rea did overtake Sykes for P2. Then a few laps later Sykes made a mistake and Haslam overtook him for P3 but later Sykes overtook him back and started to catch Rea.
In lap number 8 Chaz Davies crashed from the lead. He was able to re-join the race but he was only 17th. He started his chasing ride.
Jonathan Rea was in the lead but Tom Sykes was catching him. He tried to overtake him but then Rea made it back to P1. Some laps later Sykes tried to do an overtaking manoeuvre again and he was successful in that time. He started to pull away quite quickly.
Meanwhile, Leandro Mercado did amazing ride as he was 4th for a few laps. But then Marco Melandri did overtake him and later also some other rivals did the same.
At the early stages of the race Jake Dixon had some troubles and he was wide but he re-joined. But later he retired from the race. Then also Riccardo Russo retired and later also Stefan Bradl. All because of some mechanical problems.
Tom Sykes was leading with quite a comfortable gap of 2 seconds, in lap 20 he even increased his lead to 5 seconds.
And then it happened. In lap 21 Jonathan Rea crashed from the 2nd position. The bike was completely destroyed. Rider ok.
So Sykes was in the lead ahead of Leon Haslam. Marco Melandri was going 3rd but Alex Lowes was catching him. Yes, that Lowes who was forced to be at the end of the field at the beginning of the race.
In the last lap Melandri did a small mistake and was a little bit wide. Lowes was able to made it ahead of him.
Tom Sykes won the race 16 seconds ahead of Leon Haslam and Alex Lowes finished 3rd (amazing ride from him). It was 9th Sykes’ victory in a row at this track.
Marco Melandri finished 4th which means pole position for tomorrow. Michael van der Mark was 5th, Leon Camier on great 6th place. Leandro Mearcado did great P7, Chaz Davies made it to P8. Jordi Torres was 9th, Xavi Forés 10th.
Roman Ramos, Lorenzo Savadori, Eugene Laverty, Randy Krummenacher and Raffaele de Rosa also took some points.
Ayrton Badovini, Alex de Angelis and Ondřej Ježek did finish the race but without any points.
As already mentioned, Jonathan Rea, Stefan Bradl, Riccardo Russo and Jake Dixon didn’t finish.
Jonathan Rea leads the Championship 50 points ahead of Tom Sykes. Chaz Davies is 3rd.
The second race of the weekend will be tomorrow at 15:00 local time (16:00 CEST) so same as today.
Photo: World SBK