With the first two races today being exciting ones, the third race didn't need to be exciting for this year to be better than last year. But it was.
Max Biaggi lunged for the lead at turn one but went wide. Chaz Davies took the gap and the lead and was followed through by Sylvain Guintoli, but as they exited the turn, Guintoli pushed Max Biaggi who hit Tom Sykes. Biaggi crashed out while Sykes recovered in seventeenth place. Alex Lowes managed to avoid the mess and ended up behind Sykes with a long battle ahead.
Jonathan Rea took second place from Sylvain Guintoli with Jordi Torres and Michael van der Mark taking fourth then fifth place from Leon Haslam. Unlike race one, Rea couldn't keep up with Davies and the gap to first place grew by a few tenths a lap. Torres took third off Guintoli into lap three while Sykes scythed through the slower riders to eleventh place.
Five laps in, with Davies over a second ahead of Rea, and Tom Sykes recovering to eight place, the chances of Rea winning the title this weekend were diminishing. He needed to finish ahead of Davies and eleven points ahead of Sykes. A lap later, Rea now two seconds behind Davies as Tom Sykes took seventh place, the chances were slipping away.
Then, Tom Sykes lost front grip at turn five and dropped his bike. He recovered in nineteenth place and would have it all to do again. Rea's luck changed dramatically.
Chaz Davies, however, had different plans. At half race distance, Davies had a two and a half second lead over Rea, himself around a second and a half ahead of Jordi Torres. Torres in third had built a cushion of over four seconds from Sylvain Guintoli in fourth and looked to be set to match his best ever result in the championship, closer to the leaders than he'd ever been.
As Tom Sykes caught Christophe Ponsson and passed him for fifteenth position and a point, Chaz Davies noticed his tyres dropping off, at the same time as in every test and race he'd done at this track. His pace dropped a little and Jonathan Rea in second place maintained his pace, his smoother style kinder on the tyres.
Rea had settled for second place, knowing that this would postpone his championship another seven weeks, in Jerez, Spain on the other side of the summer break, but then he saw the gap closing. His team pointed out the drop in Davies's pace and he decided to go for it. Even if he crashed out, with Sykes only due a point or two, he had enough of a points lead to have a go.
With two laps to go, Davies had a two and a half second lead. A lap later, that was halved. A sector later, half a second off, another sector, another half second. Rea passed Davies on the back straight and once again, it would come down to the last corner on the last lap.
Rea went in first, sideways but there was enough of a gap for Davies to be in front by a few inches at the apex.
The pair collided.
Both riders steeled themselves and charged for the corner exit, recovering from the impact immediately. Davies ahead, he drifted inwards on the outside of the exit of the corner, removing the faster line from Rea's list of options so Rea took to the pit lane entrance to widen his exit line, but it was not enough. Once more Chaz Davies made good use of the Ducati Panigale's new exhaust system and powered to the flag, winning by nine hundredths of a second, the exact same as the World Supersport was won by.
Chaz Davies won the race and took second place off Tom Sykes in the championship chase and, in doing so, held Jonathan Rea off from winning the title by six points. Jordi Torres in third finished just five seconds from Davies and, equalling his best result of the year, finished closer to victory than he'd ever been. Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark in fourth and fifth gave Honda their best race since Assen and Guintoli's best result of the year.
|1||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R||2'04.707||300,0|
|2||65||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10R||0.091||2'04.730||303,4|
|3||81||J. TORRES||Aprilia RSV4 RF||5.008||2'05.012||310,3|
|4||1||S. GUINTOLI||Honda CBR1000RR SP||13.130||2'05.660||299,2|
|5||60||M. VD MARK||Honda CBR1000RR SP||15.801||2'05.443||300,8|
|6||91||L. HASLAM||Aprilia RSV4 RF||15.970||2'05.533||305,1|
|7||44||D. SALOM||Kawasaki ZX-10R||24.561||2'06.251||299,2|
|8||22||A. LOWES||Suzuki GSX-R1000||26.526||2'06.099||300,8|
|9||15||M. BAIOCCO||Ducati Panigale R||28.528||2'06.454||299,2|
|10||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||31.598||2'06.431||296,7|
|11||59||N. CANEPA||Ducati Panigale R||33.568||2'06.038||295,1|
|12||2||L. CAMIER||MV Agusta F4 RR||34.806||2'06.581||296,7|
|13||14||R. DE PUNIET||Suzuki GSX-R1000||46.521||2'06.454||301,7|
|14||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10R||48.964||2'05.015||305,1|
|15||36||L. MERCADO||Ducati Panigale R||49.865||2'05.862||301,7|
|16||23||C. PONSSON||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1'04.171||2'08.228||288,0|
|17||45||G. VIZZIELLO||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1'24.837||2'09.478||285,0|
|18||75||G. RIZMAYER||BMW S1000 RR||1'25.068||2'09.536||294,3|
|19||48||A. PHILLIS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1'34.051||2'10.253||283,5|
|20||10||I. TOTH||BMW S1000 RR||2'00.907||2'12.012||292,7|