CLICK HERE for WSBK Race Results (1) from Buriram, Thailand

Jonathan Rea has notched up his third World Superbike Championship win in a row after reeling in Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes in an absorbing first race at the Chang International Circuit.

After his hard fought double win last time out at Phillip Island, Rea was again made to work hard for victory in Thailand, despite a good start from third on the grid that had him leading from Sykes into the opening bend.

Indeed, in an unusually error-pocked ride from the Ulsterman - at least by his standards -, Rea ceded the lead at the end of lap two when he ran wide out of the final corner, handing the initiative back to Sykes, who would proceed to lead for the majority of the race.

From here Sykes would eke out the three-strong lead pack of himself, Rea and Michael van der Mark, the Dutchman quickly clawing his way back up the order when a bunny-hop start from his maiden pole position dropped him to fifth initially.

Indeed, having bridged the gap to the leaders, van der Mark appeared faster than the Kawasakis in front, but over-eagerness into turn eight would see him nearly flipped into a high-side. Though he got the Honda under control, the loss of two seconds - whilst enough to see him retain third - would see him lose touch of the front pack and unable to get back on terms.

As such, the lead fight was reduced to Sykes and Rea, the 2013 champion seemingly the more comfortable of the two initially, only for Rea - despite his own turn eight moment - to start upping the pressure on his team-mate and rival.

Once satisfied he was faster, Rea wasted no time in pouncing on Sykes, following closely through the sweeping final sector turns before planting a move under braking at the final bend with four laps remaining.

Back ahead, though Rea couldn't quite shake off the attentions of Sykes as he desperately attempted to respond, the Ulsterman retained control to the chequered flag to score yet another win, though perhaps more crucially, land a fairly heavy blow to Sykes' eagerness to re-establish some inter-team status.

Though frustrated to have cost himself a shot at a first win, van der Mark makes it three podiums in a row in third place, bringing some smiles to the Honda team, which otherwise suffered mechanical problems and a DNF on Nicky Hayden's bike as he as disputed sixth.

A full 17secs down on the leaders, Chaz Davies had to make do with fourth after prevailing in a boisterous battle with Ducati team-mate Davide Giugliano. Having almost come together in qualifying, some wild attempts to pass by the Italian would see him unsettle Davies, but the Welshman was keeping him at bay when Giugliano lost the bike under braking with just two laps remaining, leaving him out of the points.

His misfortune would see Markus Reiterberger turn in a maiden top five for himself and the Althea team in its new BMW guise, the German making up some impressive gains, including on Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli in the Yamahas in sixth and seventh. Similarly, Jordi Torres on the second of the Althea BMW's performed well to claw himself back to eighth after an early error left him outside the points.

Ascending through the order from lowly starting positions, Alex de Angelis and Lorenzo Savadori posted a pair of fine top ten finishes for the Ioda Aprilia team, with Leon Camier, Roman Ramos, Matteo Baiocco, Xavi Fores and Josh Brookes completing the top 15 and the points.

 

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