WSBK: Jonathan Rea returns to winning ways with race one victory in Thailand

Jonathan Rea won Saturday's opening World Superbike race at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand.
Jonathan Rea won Saturday's opening World Superbike race at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand.

Jonathan Rea has slashed Marco Melandri’s advantage in the World Superbike Championship to two points after claiming his maiden victory of 2018 in race one in Thailand on Saturday.

Rea controlled the race after securing pole position ahead of his Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes, continuing his unprecedented record at the Chang International Circuit, where he has won six of the seven races held since 2015.

“I tried to manage the gap and I didn’t want to make any mistakes because the pace was really hot,” said Rea.

“It feels amazing to win and we have worked really hard with the bike all weekend towards the end goal and we did, so I’m happy.”

Xavi Fores finished as the runner-up on the Barni Racing Ducati, 1.5 seconds behind Rea, while Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Ducati) edged out Red Bull Honda’s Leon Camier to snatch the final place on the rostrum. Alex Lowes (PATA Yamaha) and Sykes completed the top six.

Italian rider Melandri, a double winner at round one at Phillip Island in February, could only finish eighth on the second of the Aruba.it Ducati machines, one place ahead of Northern Ireland’s Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia).