WorldSBK commentator Steve English reviews the return of WorldSBK in Germany
The summer break is over and the WorldSBK season has entered the start/finish straight of the 2017 season. It has been a season where the hostilities between Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) have boiled over on occasion, with this tension never far from the surface as they fought for the title.
Ultimately mistakes and injuries have affected Davies' charge, but he was once again the man to beat last weekend in Germany. Having dominated the end of last year season, Davies has given himself a strong foundation for a similar run of form this year. His performance at the Lausitzring was made even more impressive by his performance prior to Race 1.
Looking solid but by no means the man to beat, the Welsh rider made his way from the second row to the front and tactfully managed the gap to his pursuers. The Ducati rider kept his cards close to his chest, and was rewarded with 50 points on top of a strong momentum.
Despite coming away from Germany with 40 points and two second place finishes, Rea didn’t seem too comfortable. The Kawasaki rider took a gamble with the softer tyre in Race 1, and simply didn't have the same pace as Davies on Sunday. It was a weekend where Rea “emptied the tank but was beaten by a better rider” but with his championship lead extended, it was a case of mission accomplished in many ways for the reigning champion.
The mission for many on the grid is simply to close the gap to Rea and Davies in the coming months. As has been seen it's easier said than done, but with Yamaha and MV Agusta having had a ding-dong battle all weekend they are edging ever closer. It may have been for a fifth position on both days, but their scrap showed the step forward both have made - particularly when you consider they were in the thick of a fight with Tom Sykes' Kawasaki. For Yamaha the season has already seen them double their 2016 podium tally, and it surely won't come as a big surprise when MV open their WorldSBK podium account.