2017 Imola World Superbike Race One Results: A Delayed Start

After a delayed start due to a power failure that affected tyre warmers (and riders' motorhomes), the riders lined up under a hot Italian sun for nineteen laps of the Imola circuit.

Chaz Davies bolted like a cat whose tail was stood on, breaking away from everyone immediately. Marco Melandri passed underneath both Kawasakis to take second place, but he couldn't hope to catch his Ducati teammate and after one lap Davies had a one second lead. Eugene Laverty took places off Xavi Fores and Leon Camier to take fifth place, with Leandro Mercado snapping at the heels of that battle. At the end of lap two, Rea messed up the last chicane, closing on Melandri, and started lap three over a second from the Italian.

Marco Melandri set the fastest lap on lap two but a lap later, Chaz Davies took it off him and added almost a second to his gap at the front. Three seconds back from Tom Sykes in fourth, Xavi Fores took fifth place off Eugene Laverty and set out on a lonely campaign with nothing but gap ahead and behind.

Jonathan Rea, early into the fifth lap, smoked his rear tyre, powering out of a left hander to catch Marco Melandri, both riders pushing hard, and at the end of the lap, Rea snuck underneath Melandri into the final chicane complex onto the start/finish straight and held second place over the line. Nicky Hayden retired with what looked like a dodgy front suspension or tyre, pulling into the pits.

Very little changed at the front, Davies over five seconds clear and running mid-1'46 laps with ease, ahead of Rea who had a couple of seconds of fresh air behind him and Marco Melandri with Tom Sykes as an outrider on his tail, biding his time. Leon Camier passed a few riders to eventually catch and pass Eugene Laverty for sixth place, followed by Michael van der Mark.

On the fourteenth lap, Alex Lowes caught and passed Eugene Laverty on the inside, but his boot caught the front mudguard of Laverty's Aprilia, snapping it off. The mudguard flapped off and got caught alongside the left side of the front wheel at high speed. Laverty hit the brakes for the next turn but nothing happened. He abandoned his bike and hit the ground hard as his bike made a beeline for the wall, exploding on impact and bringing out what might be the most obvious red flag of the weekend. Laverty walked away from his disembarkment in some discomfort and was taken straight to the medical centre.

With two thirds of race distance done, the race was declared with Chaz Davies as the winner ahead of Jonathan Rea and Marco Melandri. Race Direction looked at the incident between Lowes and Laverty but decided very quickly that nobody was at fault.

Chaz Davies won convincingly with a bike that worked perfectly for him and Jonathan Rea said that second was the best he could have hoped for. Marco Melandri in third said that the bike wasn't as good as he wanted and that he needed to do better. Tom Sykes starts race two tomorrow in pole position, but the reverse grid will most likely again not make as much difference as intended.

Chaz Davies remains in third place in the championship, only eight points behind Tom Sykes while Jonathan Rea increases his lead to seventy-one points.


Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale R  
2 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR 6.696
3 33 M. MELANDRI Ducati Panigale R 9.287
4 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 9.913
5 12 X. FORÉS Ducati Panigale R 16.142
6 2 L. CAMIER MV Agusta 1000 F4 21.914
7 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 24.638
8 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 25.792
9 40 R. RAMOS Kawasaki ZX-10RR 34.035
10 6 S. BRADL Honda CBR1000RR 34.585
11 15 A. DE ANGELIS Kawasaki ZX-10RR 39.857
12 32 L. SAVADORI Aprilia RSV4 RF 40.639
13 88 R. KRUMMENACHER Kawasaki ZX-10RR 43.089
14 35 R. DE ROSA BMW S 1000 RR 43.560
15 86 A. BADOVINI Kawasaki ZX-10RR 47.289
16 37 O. JEZEK Kawasaki ZX-10RR 50.389
RET 84 R. RUSSO Yamaha YZF R1 6 Laps
RET 69 N. HAYDEN Honda CBR1000RR 8 Laps
RET 36 L. MERCADO Aprilia RSV4 RF 9 Laps


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My heart sank when I saw Nicky retire with mechanical issues. Dodgy front suspension or tire issues?? What is this, local club racing?

Nicky has been a loyal Honda brand ambassador for almost all of his career, but at this point I'd almost advocate for him to join another team - ANY team - instead of being tied to a manufacturer who doesn't seem to give a damn.

I didn't know for sure what his technical issue was, hence my supposition, but he gestured that the front was acting up. It turned out it was his dashboard that had turned off. That's not good. 

Dashboard stopped working? That's definitely not good, for a number of reasons. Not only the obvious (you need the dash), but not good because it seems to show (in my mind) the terrible lack of attention to detail that Nicky's team is demonstrating. You'd expect this kind of amateur, grade school nonsense from a club racing team sponsored by Joe's Septic Tank Pumping, not Honda and Red Bull.

Nicky's recent comments about additional mechanics and his overall frustration are becoming more and more telling with each race. These sorts of amateur mistakes are simply inexcusable at this level of racing.