Ben Spies has taken his eighth World Superbike victory of the season at Misano after unleashing a searing pace when it mattered in an entertaining wet-to-dry race.
Spies looked to be out of contention in the early stages of a race that was begun in damp conditions, with Shane Byrne instead taking the initiative and pulling out a huge 15 second gap over his nearest rival.
However, as the circuit dried rapidly and the flag-to-flag rule came into effect, Spies was mesmerising on his second bike as he quickly caught and passed Byrne to win by a clear eight seconds.
An eventful race that was defined by the tumultuous weather conditions, all riders began on treaded rubber, but the arrival of sun meant most were swapping their bikes over by the mid-way point. It didn't take long for drama to strike though, with Troy Corser
tumbling on the warm-up lap and being unable to take the start – he joined John Hopkins on the sidelines, the American having decided not to race.
From the start, first time pole sitter Jakub Smrz got away well, but was no match for Byrne, who slingshot his way into the lead at the opening bend, ahead of the sister Guandalini machine, Spies, Carlos Checa
and Michel Fabrizio.
In what has been a dismal season thus far for the reigning British Superbike champion, Byrne was wasting no time in attempting to make amends, at one stage lapping more than a second faster than anyone else on the circuit as he excelled on the treacherous surface.
Still, despite the slippery conditions, all riders were staying upright, even if some were coping with the rigours better than others. Amongst those scything their way up the order were Gregorio Lavilla, up to eighth by lap three, and Yukio Kagayama
in ninth, although both Aprilias were finding conditions tougher as they slipped out of contention
Meanwhile, Jonathan Rea, who had intended to start in second position before being forced to get away in the pit lane, found himself back in the pit lane when he was given a drive-thru penalty.
Up at the front, Byrne was continuing to extend his advantage at a remarkable rate, pulling out an 8.6secs advantage over Smrz by lap six. Smrz himself was also enjoying a good gap over Fabrizio, Spies and Checa behind at this stage.