From the start, and after some of their main rivals had run off track into the first chicane, Rea and Sykes made an escape from their peer group as they kept up a pace that none of their rivals could match.
At halfway distance Rea slowed to allow Sykes to take the leading duties but Sykes refused the offer and maintained his track position right behind Rea for all 21 laps, looking for a way past in the final two laps. Unable to find a gap, despite a strong attempt into the penultimate right hand corner, Sykes drew himself from behind Rea’s slipstream to close up to within 0.090 seconds for a class leading 1-2 finish.
Rea has a 61-point lead over his team-mate Sykes and with Chaz Davies finishing fourth today Sykes extended his advantage down to third place in the table to 13 points.
Earlier on Saturday morning Sykes had taken his sixth Superpole win of the year and the 36th of his career. He has won all of the last five pole position qualifying contests at Misano. Sykes set a new best lap of 1'34.037 to win Superpole, with Rea just behind in second place on the grid.
With the first race of the weekend completed in front running fashion for the lead Kawasaki duo they now head into race two on Sunday full of confidence.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Getting back on the top step was the clear target here, and to get both race wins, so we are halfway to accomplishing that. To be honest it was a little bit surprising how much we struggled towards the end because yesterday our pace was so strong at the end of my long run, staying in the low 1’36 laps. I am not sure how much the track temperature increase has affected us today, because it seems to be a lot. We need to sit down tonight and understand how we need to improve. Tom was strong in some areas of the track, we were strong in some areas of the track, but overall our lap times were quite similar. I am really happy to win again.”
Tom Sykes, stated, “Nearly there, but not quite. Overall I am relatively happy with our performance, and consistency, but I am just a little bit disappointed that I did not win because I certainly feel that Marcel and Danilo and the boys have worked hard. We lost a little bit of time yesterday but we made up for it today and felt we had a good set-up - so I have to be happy. It was just not able to make a clean pass in the last couple of laps. I know on the last two laps when I tried I was not able to put the nose of the bike in a good position. We were less than one tenth of a second from the win and we have to take some positives. We have been fast and consistent in recent rounds and we have come to another completely different circuit, where Jonathan has been really strong and winning in the past, and we had a good potential to win the race. We just were not able to get into the right track position on the last lap.”
Behind the podium places the top Kawasaki rider proved to be the consistent and determined Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki), in ninth place after strong-starting Anthony West (Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) lost pace as his rear grip started to drop. ‘Westie’ finished tenth. Dominic Schmitter (Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki) finished 17th, Saeed Al Sulaiti (Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was 19th and Gianluca Vizziello (Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki) 20th.