It was Rea who took the holeshot, leading into the first corner with teammate Tom Sykes hot on his tail, as the sun shone down at Magny-Cours. Honda World Superbike Team’s Michael van der Mark showed his prowess in the mixed conditions finding grip on the outside where no one else could to make up two positions, as his teammate Nicky Hayden followed his lead close behind. By the end of the first lap Sykes had taken the advantage from his teammate as the two Honda’s closed in.
As the battle heated up at the front between the two Kawasakis and the two Honda’s, MV Agusta Reparto Corse rider Leon Camier silently closed in. With his MV Agusta running at its peak Camier became relentless, hunting down the leaders within a couple of laps and easily pulled away in the lead.
By lap 7 the track was almost dry and the Kentucky Kid was the first man into the pits for a tyre change, followed a few laps later by the KRT duo who struggled with grip on the drying track.
Camier’s stint at the top was short lived as IodaRacing’s Lorenzo Savadori was first to catch him before a rush of activity in the closing laps saw Aruba.it Racing – Ducati’s Chaz Davies eventually catch up to steal the lead from the young Italian. Once in front, Davies was unstoppable and went on to win nine seconds clear of second placed Michael van der Mark, who stayed consistent throughout the race. KRT duo Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea pushed to make up for lost time spent changing tires to finally finish in third and fourth respectively.
Savadori eventually finished in fifth ahead of first Frenchman home, Matthieu Lagrive for Pedercini Racing in sixth. Leon Camier came home in seventh after his intermediate tires eventually lost their grip on the dry track. His impressive race will be fueling his fire in race 2 to see his performance through to finish on the podium.
Barni Racing’s Xavi Fores ended the day in eighth ahead of Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s Sylvain Guintoli in ninth, who will also be aiming for the podium on Sunday, while IodaRacing Team’s Alex De Angelis locked out the top 10.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s Alex Lowes gave a solid effort to finish in P11 after his crash in yesterday’s practice saw him limping to ad from his bike today. Milwaukee BMW’s Josh Brooke’s finished in P12 while Roman Ramos rode a consistent race to finish in P13. Althea BMW Racing Team’s Jordi Torres and Luca Scassa (VFT Racing) locked out the last of the points places in P14 and P15.
WorldSBK will be back on the grid on Sunday 2nd of October at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours for another thrilling race of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship.
Quotes from top 3:
Davies: “I tried to use my brain as much as possible and way up all the factors, which is a lot. The drying speed of the track, how wet the track was, how many bikes are out there, the wind, the temperature, everything. You have to take it all into account. This isn’t a track that dries very quickly, so I was a little worried about the first laps more than anything because it was proper wet and you know the intermediates aren’t much different to the slicks in terms of compound. The first laps were a battle of survival just trying to stay upright. If I didn’t crash in the first laps I was expecting to get taken out because I was so slow. But anyway, I stayed upright, didn’t get taken out and I could see the guys going away but I was happy because they didn’t disappear into the distance. Then I was thinking, ‘Stay on and don’t do anything stupid, see what happens, let it play out.’ Sure enough I started taking two and three seconds a lap and at that point I knew it was game on for the win so I was very, very happy.”
Van der Mark: “It was a difficult decision and I took the gamble. To be honest I don’t have a really good feeling on intermediates. So I gambled and went with wet tyres. It was just frustrating so I decided to relax and change to slicks. Lap by lap we were getting faster and faster. It is a really important podium for us. We made an important decision. I think at the end it was almost quite close but I think a podium is what we needed after a couple of rounds without a podium. So we are really happy. It was a difficult race but I really enjoyed it.”
Sykes: “It was wet and we had already had a problem in the last race in Germany so to finish was important. I almost came in two laps earlier for the slick tyre but it was still quite dangerous on the slick with the three left-handers, so that almost caught me out. I think we did quite a good race. Our calculations weren’t quite correct so we ended up third, but I’m happy with this and tomorrow we’ll try again.”
#FrenchWorldSBK: Race 1
Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing - Ducati
Michael van der Mark Honda World Superbike Team (+9.871)
Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team (+10.218)