Thailand WSB: Rea dominates for first ever Thai win
Jonathan Rea has dominated the first ever World Superbike race at Thailand’s Chang circuit, leading from flag to flag to take a win over an all-British podium by some six seconds. Leon Haslam and Tom Sykes completed the top three.
Rea, who qualified on pole, was untouchable in the race, leading into the first corner, immediately pulling a gap, and never looking back as he cleared off at the front. Haslam was the only to chase, closing to within a few seconds before his tyres started to fade.
Voltcom Suzuki rider Alex Lowes was an early holder of the final podium spot after an aggressive move on Sykes, but crashed out at the half way point, falling at the same last corner that demoted Chaz Davies from fifth to eleventh. Lowes eventually finished sixth.
Sykes was able to hold onto third despite also coming under pressure at the end from the second Aprilia of Jordi Torres. World champion Sylvain Guintoli was fifth, although teammate Michael van der Mark joined Leon Camier on the MV Agusta in retiring early in the race with mechanical problems.
Matteo Baiocco was an excellent seventh on the Althena Ducati, while returning legend Troy Bayliss was eighth on his second ride deputising for Davide Giugliano.
Speaking afterwards, Rea said: “My guys gave me great signals, and I needed them, because I knew to beat Aprilia I needed to go at the start. We have a big of a speed deficit, and I needed those signals to help control the race.”
Update: Alex Lowes and Troy Bayliss were subsequently punished after the race for passing under a yellow flag, both recieving a one place penalty to drop them to seventh and ninth respectively.