2018 Buriram WorldSBK Recap: What We Saw In Buriram

If the second round of the 2018 WorldSBK season is anything to go by the regulation shake-up could see an absolutely compelling season. Buriram gave plenty to talk about...

Riding your ass off: After finishing fourth in Race 2 Jonathan Rea said that he “had to ride his ass off” to try to get through the field from ninth on the grid. The Northern Irishman said earlier in the weekend that the changes to his Kawasaki have forced him to adapt his style on the ZX-10RR and ride it more like a Supersport machine. Forced to carry greater corner speed it meant that Rea's ultimate pace was as fast as anyone in Thailand but that it was difficult to get through the front. Mistakes blighted his second race as he was forced to ride at the limit throughout.

Davies rights some wrongs: Buriram was the only circuit on the calendar that Ducati hadn't claimed a win. Chaz Davies was able to claim the spoils on Sunday with a superbly judged performance. After the race when asked about the new regulations he said that not much has changed for Ducati with the riding style the same and being forced to ride as hard as ever. Thailand offered a real test for the Welshman but over the course of the last four years they have made steady progress at the circuit and it has gone from a true weakness to one that Davies can now tick off his list.

Closer than ever: Over the last three seasons Jonathan Rea has used Buriram as his playground. He's laid the foundations of his championship challenges in Thailand and with Chaz Davies having been 40 and 30 points adrift after Round 2 in recent years the Welshman now finds himself only 12 points behind Rea. We should see some fireworks from the Ducati star when we get back to Europe. It's clearly “Game On” for the championship.

Yamaha and Honda make progress: After the opening round of the season Yamaha looked to have taken a step backwards and Honda a number of steps forward. In Buriram both outfits were able to contend at the front and it's clear that after Leon Camier's performance on Saturday that the future is a lot brighter for Honda. The Red Bull Honda squad are still waiting to switch their electronics and have been able to use that consistent platform as the basis of their performance whereas Yamaha finally made the switch to their Japanese Superbike specification. After Race 2 Michael van der Mark said that it was proof that Yamaha are close to the front and that in WorldSBK it's closer than ever.

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I am actually excited for SBK this year. Rea's dominance is a topic that has been beaten to death, so no need to say any more, but it has been a great start to the season for both SBK and SSP and the racing is close and exciting. 

The new rules for WSB seem to be having the desired effect in producing less predicatble racing and although riders got spread out towards the end, it was massively more entertaining. Let's hope this is repeated at future races.

My only concern is for Marcos Melandri. I'm not ridng the bike, but I just can't see how a massive high speed head shake is the wisest and safest set up. It looks alarming and I fear he will get spat off at high speed before long, especially at the first wet race.