Cortese edges Caricasulo for WorldSSP race win in Spain.
Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Chaz Davies has claimed victory in race two of Aragon’s third round of the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK), defeating a hard-charging Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team).
In a repeat of last year’s Aragon Round, the two leading riders of the championship clashed sensationally in the final laps, with the Welshman avoiding a first Rea double of the season and taking his second win of the 2018 series.
Davies now moves into second place in the Championship standings, just 12 points away from Rea. Behind them, Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) completes the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati pursuit on 96 points, after taking third in the Spanish race two.
The race start was similar to yesterday’s affair. Again, it was Rea sticking amongst the Ducatis at the front, with the Panigale R showing incredible pace at the Alcañiz circuit. This time it was Xavi Fores (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) and Melandri heading the early laps, with a calculating Rea waiting behind.
Just one mistake is enough for the reigning champion to pounce, and as it happened there were two. First a wobble from Melandri (who has had some worrying difficulties controlling the bike throughout the weekend, despite showing very good rhythm) allowed Rea to move up to second.
Fores, looking for his first win in front of his passionate local fans, held his provisional lead well under Rea’s pressure – until lap nine, when his front-end gave in and left the Spaniard on the floor, leaving way for what seemed to be becoming a trademark Rea double.
But, with one Ducati rider leaving the leading group, in came another. Chaz Davies didn’t have the amazing start he did in race one, but quietly he benefitted from the action at the front to creep up to Rea and Melandri, picking off the Yamahas along the way.
He was too far back to greatly trouble Rea in yesterday’s Race 1, his Superpole two slip a disadvantage too large to overcome. But on Sunday, with five laps to go and having already overcome his teammate, he got past the Northern Irishman. With the pair coming in close into the final lap and ready for a photo finish, Rea went wide in the middle sector, handing Davies a phenomenal win.
Behind them, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) came in fourth and fifth, respectively, the Dutchman unable to take advantage of his front row start despite leading in lap one.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) suffered a nightmare race off the grid, falling from third to eighth at the first turn, with Davies in ninth passing him shortly after. The Brit fought back to sixth at the checkered flag, but will be disappointed at his results throughout the weekend after two front-row starts.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) came in one better after his debut yesterday, finishing seventh and as the lead independent rider. Behind him Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) came back strongly from yesterday’s crash with Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), ending the race eighth and pleasing the home fans. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Savadori completed the top 10, in ninth and 10th respectively.
Third time’s the charm for Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing), as the German made good of his first FIM Supersport World Championship Superpole to grab his first win. Only three races into his World Supersport career, he led his Yamaha back into first place after a poor start and dominated the latter two-thirds of the race, with only Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) endangering the German’s lead.
This is the first victory for Cortese since 2012, when he met the checkered flag in the penultimate race of his Moto3 championship-winning season. A huge win and a return to the podium, after missing out at the Chang International Circuit, moving now just four points away from defending champion Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) who could only come in fourth.
Australian Anthony West (EAB Antwest Racing) finished up the weekend in ninth, while compatriot Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) concluded the weekend in 24th position. Australia’s World Supersport 300 contender Tom Edwards (Nutec Benjan Kawasaki) crashed out with two laps remaining after factoring in the lead group.
The next stop on the WorldSBK calendar is scheduled for 20-22 April at the TT Assen Circuit in The Netherlands.