Ducati Dominant at Imola
Davies achieves a splendid double victory, breaking Rea’s winning streak
AFTER A DISAPPOINTING
race weekend in Holland, Aruba.it Ducati’s Chaz Davies was back to his winning ways at Imola, bagging a double victory.
The first Italian round of the season was probably the most action- and drama-packed one to date: the first race saw an Aprilia burst into flames and then Chaz Davies claim victory by 6.6 seconds. It was a clear victory for him as the Welshman led the race from flag to pole. As the lights went out, Davies took off like a rocket and held on to the lead. Behind him was his team-mate, Marco Melandri, who also got a brilliant start. In third place was reigning champion and Kawasaki rider Jonathan Rea, who, on lap five, overtook Melandri to slip into P2.
Consistently riding in P4 was the second Kawasaki rider, Tom Sykes. As the race progressed, Davies started to pull away from the rest of the pack, building a huge lead in the process. Jonathan Rea tried his best to catch up with Davies; however, it was too late for the defending champion.
Unfortunately, the race was stopped abruptly when Milwaukee Aprilia rider Eugene Laverty collided with PATA Yamaha’s Alex Lowes and lost the front fender of his bike. Laverty then ran off the track and jumped off the bike as the Aprilia went straight into a concrete wall and burst into flames on impact. Although Laverty escaped unscathed, the same could not be said of the bike.
The race was declared after lap 12 and it was Davies who had won with a margin of 6.6 seconds. Jonathan Rea finished second, bagging valuable points to extend his championship lead. Completing the podium was Melandri who finished 9.2 seconds behind Davies.
The second race of the Italian round saw some more drama when, on the opening lap, Ayrton Badovini’s Grillini Kawasaki’s engine blew up, spilling oil on the track. The race was instantly stopped and after a delay of 35 minutes, the riders were back on the grid for a second attempt. As the lights went out, pole-sitter Tom Sykes rocketed ahead, taking an early lead. Behind him was Leon Camier, who, unfortunately, suffered a crash on lap three which resulted in Davies slipping into P2, followed by Rea in P3. But the Welshman seemed determined to get a double victory as he quickly made his way to P1 by lap seven and started pulling away.
Behind Davies, Sykes and Rea were slugging it out and on lap 12, Rea finally made his move and overtook Sykes to slip into P2. By the time Rea got into P2, it was too late for the Northern Irish rider to challenge Davies as the Welshman had built a sizeable lead by then. In the end, Davies crossed the finish line 3.7 seconds clear of Rea, claiming his first double victory of the season. Davies also became the first rider in seven years at Imola to win a race starting off the front row.