MotorLand reigns red?
Heading to the first round in the European leg of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was the favourite to bring the fight to Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), as the Northern Irishman was undefeated in 2017 so far. With a stunning record around MotorLand Aragon, Davies was certainly the man with his eyes on the prize in the windy Round Three.
Starting from pole position in race one, the Welshman got into the lead and began a commanding race around the 5.077 km circuit. Continuing with the similar theme of the season so far, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) were locked in a battle for the podium positions as Rea chased down the Panigale R in the lead. Drama struck the Pirelli Aragon Round on the penultimate lap as Davies crashed out of the lead through the penultimate corner and Rea cruised to the victory – making it five from five for the Northern Irishman. As Sykes suffered with what would be the start of an intense illness, Melandri was able to get the better of the Brit and take second position with Sykes in third.
In the third appearance of the grid reshuffle rule for 2017, the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team once again benefited, as Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark headed the front row with local hero Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) starting from third position. Although Davies was not a man to mess with on Sunday, fighting though the pack from 10th on the grid he was soon up and fighting for the victory in the 18 lap race. Holding off Rea in a tense second half, the British rider took his first victory of the season almost half a second ahead of his compatriot. Melandri took his second podium finish of the season whilst Sykes dropped to a lonely fourth position – 10 seconds behind the leader.
Three Rounds in and Rea was still dominating the championship standings, leading by 50 points, but as the paddock continues into Europe there was a lot to play for.