Jonathan Rea powered to his fifth consecutive victory of the 2017 World Superbike Championship in a dramatic opening race at Aragon in Spain.
The Kawasaki rider had been locked in battle with Ducati’s Chaz Davies throughout, trading places as the title rivals went head-to-head at the front.
The scene was set for a grandstand finish, but Welshman Davies slid out while leading on the penultimate lap, leaving Rea clear to wrap up his fifth win from five races.
It was a hugely significant result for the Ulster rider at a circuit where Davies had won the previous three races.
Rea has now opened an advantage of 47 points at the top of the standings over team-mate Tom Sykes, who finished on the rostrum in third place behind Marco Melandri (Ducati).
Two-time world champion Rea is bidding to become the first rider in history to win the World Superbike crown three times in a row this year.
It may only be the third round of the series, but already Rea is turning the screw and he will be aiming to heap on more pressure by clinching his third straight double with another win in race two on Sunday (12pm BST).
Pata Yamaha pair Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark were fourth and fifth respectively, with Jordi Torres completing the top six on the Althea BMW.
Northern Ireland’s Eugene Laverty crossed the line in eighth place on the Milwaukee Aprilia.