GoldBet BMW’s Marco Melandri led the race on the penultimate lap, when the red flag appeared due to crashes by Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea and Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier, who fell on oil after Frederico Sandi's engine blew up on his Team Pedercini bike.
The results went back the previous lap, which meant that Sykes ended up on the top step of the podium and takes the 25 points, followed by Melandri and team-mate Chaz Davies in third.
Sykes led from the opening lap, with the two BMW’s never far behind. There was only one Kawasaki on the starting grid, as Loris Baz had to withdraw after a big crash in the warm up session this morning. The Yorshireman stormed ahead and began to slightly pull away from the BMW’s and clocked a new lap record in the process with a 1’55.093, pulverising the time set by Max Biaggi last year.
One lap four, Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty crashed at the Mercedes Arena, but he was able to re-join, but suffered quite substantial front wheel damage, which meant that he resorted to the pits. The Irishman did come back out on lap seven, and took away one point at the end of the race.
Three laps later, Rea decided to join the party of the front three riders, and was closing the gap in on Davies. Elsewhere on the grid the battle for fifth was building up between Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli and Camier. The Kent lad tried in vain to overtake the Frenchman but any moves he made did not stick.
On the thirteenth lap Davies had enough of staying behind his Italian team-mate, and made a move to go second coming out of the chicane, but Melandri soon got back in front and with six laps to go.
It remained Sykes, Melandri, Davies and Rea till the penultimate lap. The diminutive Italian made a move on Sykes on turn one, which propelled him to the lead. But oil on the track by Sandi’s bike caused Rea to crash out at high speed from fourth, and then Camier quickly followed suit, crashing out at the same spot from sixth place, meaning that neither Brit came away with any points from race one.
With Rea and Camier out of points, it meant that Guintoli finished in fourth, followed by Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano and Red Devils Roma rider Michel Fabrizio.
Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam started off strongly, and found himself in a battle initially with Camier on lap four for seventh. But the Smalley rider slipped back, but was able to hold off charges from Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel to finish the race in seventh. Pole setter Ducati Alstare’s Ayrton Badovini came across the line in ninth, with team-mate Carlos Checa rounding off the top ten.
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