Jonathan Rea has clinched his first win at Jerez in the opening World Superbike race at the Spanish circuit after seeing Marco Melandri forced to retire while leading with a technical issue with four laps to go.

After the initial race start was red flagged due to a crash involving Ayrton Badovini and Raffaele De Rosa, Melandri stormed into the lead past Rea on lap six before building a useful one second gap. The pair traded fastest lap times but the Aruba.it Racing Ducati rider held a useful lead when his Panigale R appeared to stop with a mechanical problem four laps from the finish.

That allowed Rea to escape up the road and see off any late charges from Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes to clinch his first World Superbike race win at Jerez.

Despite Davies initially overtaking Rea for second place behind Melandri in the opening stages, the Welsh rider had to settle for the runner-up spot but has closed the points gap on Sykes with the Kawasaki rider in third place.

Pata Yamaha pair Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark kept in touch of the podium finishers throughout the Jerez opener but couldn’t quite join the fight for the rostrum with the English rider taking fourth ahead of his Dutch team-mate.

Sylvain Guintoli completed an impressive return to the World Superbike championship by finishing sixth and just 11 seconds off of Rea on his Puccetti Kawasaki debut – but comfortably ahead of Milwaukee Aprilia duo Lorenzo Savadori in seventh and Eugene Laverty in eighth.

Xavi Fores (Barni Ducati) and Roman Ramos (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki) completed the top ten finishers at the Spanish circuit.

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