Jonathan Rea’s prediction that he would be fighting for second in today’s second Imola WorldSBK race didn’t come true as he took the double win in Ducati’s back yard.
The reigning champion passed Chaz Davies with six laps left to run and promptly cleared off, putting two seconds into the Aruba Ducati man in as many laps to bag 50 points for the weekend and equal Carl Fogarty’s outright win record in the process.
This was Rea’s fifth race victory of the year, meaning Rea has now won half of all the ten races run so far. He now shares the all-time race win record with no less a WorldSBK deity than Carl Fogarty on 59 wins apiece.
With Davies second, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) was third, being promoted earlier in the race after a crash between Marco Melandri (Aruba Ducati) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha).
Eventual seventh placed rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba Ducati Junior) led the race confidently for almost three laps, until Davies passing him with 16 laps to go. Rea moved through from his ninth place start to be fourth after three laps, then he passed Rinaldi a few corners later, into the Tosa hairpin, and set the fastest lap of the race on lap four.
At half race distance van der Mark collected Melandri into the left-hander at the first Rivazza, with both riders out of the race immediately.
Rea took the lead into the Variante Alta, and kept his lead as the headed downhill into the Rivazzas. The gap was 1.4 seconds with four laps to go.
With the podium places completed, Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team Ducati) was fourth, 14 seconds, back from the win, and a good hometown fifth for MV Agusta came via Jordi Torres.
A great recovery ride for Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK) saw him sixth. Rinaldi was seventh, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) eighth.
The top ten was completed by Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki). PJ Jacobsen (TripleM Honda World Superbike Team) was 14th and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 16th.
Rea is now 47 points ahead of Davies in the championship standings.