Scott Redding Out-Wits The Rest Of The Field With His Tyre Choice To Claim His First Victory Of The Season.
A damp track at the start of the race was at tipping point so decisions had to be made before the start and the Brit made a gamble which paid off.
Some tricky and greasy conditions after the drizzle continued throughout the day but there was a clear dry line down the back straight as the field came to end the warm-up lap. The front row of Jonathan Rea, Alex Lowes and Garret Gerloff all opted for the intermediate tyre as Scott Redding in eighth on the grid had gone for slicks, front and rear after being caught out on wets in the SP Race. Aruba.It Ducati new-comer Michael Ruben Rinaldi pitted at the end of the warm-up lap to switch tyres after seeing that the conditions wouldn’t have suited his choice.
As the lights went out, Rea steamed into the first corner in the lead as a racy Garrett Gerloff followed him in second. GoEleven rider Chaz Davies went down after losing the front at Turn six. He took his bike back to the pits to change his tyres and re-join after tearing a piece of loose body work off. Michael Van Der Mark had a good start and slipped into fourth after struggling for track time on his BMW M1000RR over the weekend. Scott Redding on slicks made a good start and was in sixth place with two laps gone. Team HRC Honda rider, Leon Haslam went down at Turn two as he still struggles to get on with the Fireblade.
Garrett Gerloff attempted a very bold move on Jonathan Rea into the chicane before the back straight and barged Rea off the track and across the damp grass and gravel as the Yamaha skittled off on its side. Jonathan Rea re-joined behind Michael Van Der Mark in fifth place. Gerloff picked his bike up and re-joined in 12th. He was given a long-lap penalty for his actions. In all of the drama Toprak Razgatlioglu took the lead in front of Lowes, Van Der Mark, Rea and Redding.
Michael Van Der Mark took the lead on lap six into Turn one with a brilliant move inside Toprak’s Yamaha. Scott Redding worked his way into second position at Turn 12 and looked to have lots more grip with his slick tyres. He moved into the lead and started to pull clear from Van Der Mark very quickly. He was 3.4 seconds clear two laps later.
In the battle for 2nd, BMW Motorrad rider and Yorkshireman Tom Sykes started to set quick lap times and joined the group led by his team-mate with 10 laps to go, as Toprak dropped to the back of the group. Jonathan Rea took a few laps to re-gather his composure after being rammed by Gerloff and started to battle in the group. He was sat in third place behind Michael Van Der Mark, closely followed by his team-mate, Alex Lowes. Scott Redding was five seconds clear.
Rea took second into the final corner with eight laps to go. His Kawasaki looked very swift in a straight line but Van Der Mark got good drive onto the front start-finish straight, smoking the rear intermediate tyre, re-taking second position from Jonathan Rea. Rea took Van Der Mark into Turn 12 and the battle for second looked to be settling down as the Kawasaki rider put the hammer down. Tito Rabat went down at Turn one with five laps to go as his dismal first weekend in WSBK continued. The battle for third started to heat up, with the two Factory BMWs and the second Kawasaki of Lowes. They went three abreast into Turn one with four laps to go, and Alex Lowes managed to lead the pair of BMWs as they re-aligned into Turn two. Sykes moved into fourth as he looked to hunt down Alex Lowes with three laps to go.
The Texan Garrett Gerloff worked his way back up to seventh with an incredible recovery, but was in a battle with the Bonovo MGM Racing rider, Jonas Folger. As we moved into the final lap, sixth place man Toprak Razgalioglu’s tyres had dropped off the cliff and he was moving towards the battle behind him.
As Scott Redding crossed the line to win the race, he pointed to his head as if to say “listen to me” towards his team after making the wrong decision in the sprint race earlier today. Jonathan Rea crossed the line in second followed by his team-mate Alex Lowes in third place. A good weekend for the Kawasaki squad. The BMW pairing of Tom Sykes and Michael Van Der Mark were fourth and fifth respectively.
Jonas Folger caught and passed Toprak but ran wide at the last corner to let the Turkish rider and Garrett Gerloff through to finish in front of him at the line. Rookies Andrea Locatelli and Lucas Mahias rounded out the Top 10 with great efforts and a positive end to the weekend. Honda rider Alvaro Bautista looked upset as he crossed the line in 11th, pointing at his tank towards the pit wall. Not a great start to the season for the tiny Spaniard.
Jonathan Rea leads the championship with Alex Lowes and Scott Redding behind him. The WSBK paddock doesn’t have much time to rest, as they move to Estoril, Portugal next week.
Featured Image: WorldSBK.com