The World Superbike race two grid avoided the threat of rain that has been looming all morning, but the sky remained grey, like the sky you'd see out of the window in a 70s episode of Pipkins. Jonathan Rea's team made a big show of running a new tyre to the grid, fitting an SC-X tyre with time to spare before the start. Twenty one riders lined up, the weekend's toll increasing with Lucas Mahias's absence.
Toprak Razgatlioglu led into the first turn, beating Jonathan Rea into turn one. Andrea Locatelli tried round the outside of Rea as he took third place from Alvaro Bautista. Jonathan Rea took the lead into turn six as the white flags waved at the side of the track. Bautista took third place from Locatelli who clashed with Alex Lowes through the turn nine chicane. A front mudguardless Iker Lekuona took fourth place during the contretemps. At the end of lap two, Lowes set the fastest lap, a 1'37.222, as he took fourth place from Lecuona.
And spots of rain showed up.
Alex Lowes took third place from Alvaro Bautista and set a 1'37.039 on lap three behind Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu. At the start of lap four, Jonathan Rea led Toprak Razgatlioglu and Alex Lowes with Alvaro Bautista between Lowes and Andrea Locatelli. Jonathan Rea slid at turn one but Razgatlioglu couldn't capitalise on it as Bautista closed up to the leading trio. Thea leading quartet were one second clear of Locatelli and Lecuona in the battle for fifth place. Isaac Vinales tested his airbag, reducing the field to just twenty racers.
Lap seven, and Razgatlioglu took the lead on the brakes into turn one and Rea once again leant on his Yamaha, but the Yamaha held the tighter line in the lead. A lap later, Rea beat Razgatlioglu into turn one, but he overshot the apex and Razgatlioglu slipped past, setting a fastest lap of 1'37.022. On lap eight, Alex Lowes set the fastest lap, a 1'36.978, remaining in third place between Razgatlioglu and Bautista as Rea took the lead down the straight and into turn one.
With four bikes in the leading group, Andrea Locatelli was in a lonely fifth place, over a second off Bautista and over a second clear of Iker Lecuona and Axel Bassani. The rain remained almost imperceptible as Bautista powered past Lowes down the straight, the Ducati holding a five kilometre an hour advantage over the Kawasaki, to take third place.
At the start of lap elevenn, Alvaro Bautista threaded through Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea down the straight to take the lead off the pair into turn one. Rea closed up through the chicane, and held onto Bautista down the straight. Alex Lowes lifted and twitched his rear as he outbraked Razgatlioglu for third. In turn five, Bautista slid the rear and let Rea past on a hard line into turns, but down the straight Bautista pulled out in front of Rea, only for Rea to take the lead into turn one of lap thirteen on the brakes.
Alvaro Bautista couldn't break free in the lead but he took the lead back into turn one of lap fourteen. Bautista led Rea, Razgatlioglu and Lowes, over two seconds clear of Locatelli in fifth. Rea gently skipped his rear tyre as he closed up on Bautista into turn six, but he couldn't get close enough to show him a wheel. Bautista increased the lead down the straight but Rea couldn't close up enough in the first few turns to make a pass. Bautista eked out a couple of tenths of a second around lap fifteen, but Rea was able to close them up in the second half of the track.
Alex Lowes finally dropped off the leading trio, settling into a comfortable fourth place, almost two seconds clear of Andrea Locatelli. With five laps to go, it was time for tyre life to come into play and only half a second covered the leading trio of Bautista, Rea and Razgatlioglu. Rea had two slow behind Bautista into almost every corner, his Kawasaki faster everywhere round the lap apart from the straight.
With three laps to go, Alvaro Bautista led Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu. Alex Lowes was almost four seconds off the leading trio, with Andrea Locatelli and Iker Lecuona over a second behind him. Two laps from the flag, Toprak razgatlioglu settled for third place, dropping over a second from Bautista and Rea. Bautista looked like he had enough of a lead to keep Rea from making a pass attempt as they started the last lap. Jonathan Rea set a fastest lap of 1'36.919 to start the last lap, but not close enough to pass into turn one.
Jonathan Rea pushed under into turn seven but Bautista held the inside line into eight, and the pair headed to the chicane of turn nine. Rea clawed his way into the lead through the chicane and held the lead until the last turn where he slid in the apex and had to cut his throttle until the grip returned. He held the power on on the exit of the turn and somehow held the lead to the flag.
Jonathan Rea took a powerful victory ahead of Alvaro Bautista as even the rain didn't dare to interrupt an incredible last lap battle for the win. Once his tyre went off, Toprak Razgatlioglu took the last step of the podium almost three seconds clear of Alex Lowes with Andrea Locatelli fending off Iker Lecuona by less than a tenth of a second. Eurosport's Xavi Fores was tenth.
Jonathan Rea closed to within seventeen points of Alvaro Bautista with Toprak Razgatlioglu a further thirty five points behind. Andrea Locatelli, Iker Lecuona and Michael Ruben Rinaldi remained in fourth to sixth places.
|1||65||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|2||19||A. BAUTISTA||Ducati Panigale V4R||0.194|
|3||1||T. RAZGATLIOGLU||Yamaha YZF R1||4.156|
|4||22||A. LOWES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||7.125|
|5||55||A. LOCATELLI||Yamaha YZF R1||1.107|
|6||7||I. LECUONA||Honda CBR1000 RR-R||8.309|
|7||47||A. BASSANI||Ducati Panigale V4R||10.865|
|8||21||M. RINALDI||Ducati Panigale V4R||5.217|
|9||97||X. VIERGE||Honda CBR1000 RR-R||18.292|
|10||12||X. FORES||Ducati Panigale V4R||18.412|
|11||45||S. REDDING||BMW M1000RR||19.758|
|12||76||L. BAZ||BMW M1000RR||25.193|
|13||3||K. NOZANE||Yamaha YZF R1||27.753|
|14||50||E. LAVERTY||BMW M1000RR||38.391|
|15||29||L. BERNARDI||Ducati Panigale V4R||38.424|
|16||23||C. PONSSON||Yamaha YZF R1||41.541|
|17||17||M. FRITZ||Yamaha YZF R1||42.555|
|18||36||L. MERCADO||Honda CBR1000 RR-R||49.775|
|19||35||H. SYAHRIN||Honda CBR1000 RR-R||51.353|
|20||52||O. KONIG||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||1'14.141|
|RET||32||I. VINALES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||5|