to view WSBK Race 1 Result
Jonathan Rea has taken his first World Superbike Championship win of the season at Silverstone after successfully negotiating intermittent rain to prevail over his rivals.
An entertaining show from start-to-finish, the race was already shaping up to be a close contest before a smattering of rain on parts of the circuit five laps in turned the order on its head as riders contended with varying levels of grip.
Already delayed as officials made provisions for rain in the air, the race nonetheless got underway in dry conditions with pole man Eugene Laverty leading into the opening bends from Rea, Loris Baz and Tom Sykes.
In these conditions, Kawasaki appeared to have the edge on their rivals with Sykes passing Baz for third before pushing past Rea for second on lap three and Laverty for the lead on lap four.
However, just as it looked as though Sykes was in position to extend his advantage over the opposition, the leaden skies began to deal a spot of drizzle around parts of the circuit, in particular at Stowe and Vale.
What followed would be two laps of relative confusion as a handful of riders adopted a more hesitating approach than others, prompting some of the front runners to fall back – including Sykes and Laverty – and mid-fielders to move through.
After dozens of overtakes amongst an eight-strong lead pack, by the end of lap seven, Rea held the lead having found the right balance between speed and caution, with Baz in second and Sylvain Guintoli in third.
From here, Rea and Baz would start to pull away from the pack to firm themselves into first and second positions, but the final podium spot would be fought over by a number of riders right to the chequered flag.
A position assumed by Guintoli, Leon Camier, Jules Cluzel and Leon Haslam at varying stages of the race – each having taken advantage of the conditions to ascend their way up the order -, the fight would ignite further in the closing stages as the fast-moving chasing pack began to close down on Baz in second.
Indeed, Baz, having initially chased Rea, was beginning to fade as the race entered its latter stages, the Frenchman slipping into the clutches of his rivals and with two laps to go. Perhaps inevitably, once caught Baz would have little answer for Camier, who would squeeze through around Becketts, followed promptly by Laverty.
Having slipped as low as eighth at one stage in the race, Laverty was coming on strong in the final few laps, latching onto Camier as they entered the final lap.
After a swap of positions through the quick Maggotts-Becketts complex, Laverty would nose ahead down the Hangar Straight and defend to the chequered flag, denying what would have been Camier's best-ever finish for Suzuki.
Up the road, this was little concern for Rea, who kept it neat and tidy for his and Pata Honda's first win of the season, a result that lifts him up to sixth in the standings.
Laverty's second also helps his title hopes on an otherwise tough start to the day for his championship rivals, while Camier was still a satisfied third as he picked up Suzuki's first podium of the year.
With just three seconds covering second to seventh, Guintoli would hold on for fourth place, the series leader increasing his advantage to 12 points after getting the better of his French counterparts Baz and Cluzel, the young pairing's results arguably not doing them justice after showing podium pace throughout.
Similarly, there was a point in the race when Haslam – having started 12th – was making big gains and looked in contention for a podium, though he would eventually slip back to seventh place. Nonetheless, the result remains the best finish of his injury-interrupted year.
Just as he did in Russia, Ayrton Badovini made the most of the tricky conditions to finish in eighth position, though BMW pairing Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies couldn't quite match their heroics from Moscow as they laboured to a distant ninth and tenth.
Even so, they fared better than Sykes, who – having been challenging for the lead initially – would steadily drop away as the race progressed to cross the line down in an unusually poor 11th position.
Front row starter Carlos Checa was another to struggle when the rain appeared, dropping down to 13th, behind Max Neukirchner, while Michel Fabrizio and Mark Aitchison completed the points' paying positions.
Just one rider would fail to reach the chequered flag, with Davide Giugliano suffering technical issues on the Althea Aprilia.