It was Davies and Rea who got the best starts from the front row of the grid, with Davide Giugliano struggling most as his teammate and the KRT riders got past him at the start of the race. With Davies leading the charge to escape, it was left to Rea, the only man seeming able to stay in touch with the Ducati rider, to try and chase him down.
With ten laps remaining, the reigning Champion ran wide at Turn 1 and the gap to teammate Sykes suddenly closed, with the KRT riders facing another inter-team battle as the Yorkshireman tried to stay in touch. Rea however managed to recover his rhythm and hold off his teammate to the line to minimize the damage in the Championship after a close challenge on the last lap.
Jordi Torres, who scored his first WorldSBK podium at Imola in 2015, had a stunning run for P4 on his Althea BMW machine at the team’s home race, ahead of second Aruba.it Racing – Ducati rider Davide Giugliano. Leon Camier, after a race of some ups and downs, crossed the line in sixth for another fantastic haul of points for home manufacturer MV Agusta.
Lorenzo Savadori on the Aprilia ran in the top 5 throughout the first part of the race, before the rookie succumbed to the pressure of riders behind. Michael van der Mark, after a difficult Superpole 2, was the winner of the battle for P7 and headed Savadori over the line, who saw the chequered flag in P8 just ahead of Imola rookie Nicky Hayden on the second Honda. Xavi Forés made up ground in the Race on his Barni Racing Team Ducati to lock out the top ten, just ahead of Alex Lowes after a difficult weekend for the Pata Yamaha squad.
Baiocco, Reiterberger, Brookes and DeAngelis completed the points scoring positions, with DeAngelis still suffering with an injury to his left hand at the Round closest to home for the San Marinese rider.
After losing some ground to Davies in Race 1, Jonathan Rea will be aiming for victory number 6 at Imola on Sunday in Race 2, where he has another chance to overtake Carlos Checa as most successful at the Italian track. Davies and Ducati are sure to put up at fight as the lights go out at 13:00 local time (GMT +2). Make sure to stay ahead of the curve on WorldSBK.com.
WorldSBK - Imola Race 1
1. Chaz Davies, Aruba.it Racing - Ducati
2. Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team +3.406
3. Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team +3.729