Defending champ Rea secures first win of 2018

Jonathan Rea

Triple World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea clinched his first victory of the season in race one at Buriram in Thailand on Saturday.

After Ducati's Marco Melandri claimed a dominant double victory in the season opener in Australia, this week's round saw Kawasaki re-assert themselves. 

After fending off some early attention from his team-mate Tom Sykes and Red Bull Honda's Leon Camier, Rea pulled away to finish 1.5 seconds clear of Barni Ducati's Xavi Fores, with Chaz Davies third.

Camier finished fourth, with Alex Lowes claiming fifth over four seconds further back.

Sykes had to settle for sixth place despite starting from second on the grid, while Melandri's eighth place finish saw his championship lead slashed. The Italian started from seventh after a crash during superpole.

Rea is now just four wins short of Carl Fogarty's record of 59, and can equal Fogarty's record of four titles with another championship this season.

"I don't have that relationship with my bike that I had last year, when I felt I could do anything with it that I liked," said Rea after his triumph.

"This year is really hard work but the team are working so hard to give me the best bike that they can.

"That was a tough race and Xavi really kept me honest but it was important that I go out and stamp my authority on proceedings."

Times

1. Jonathan Rea GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10RR 20 laps
2. Xavi Fores ESP Barni Ducati Panigale R 1.550s
3. Chaz Davies GBR Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R 2.118s
4. Leon Camier GBR Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2 2.981s
5. Alex Lowes GBR PATA Crescent Yamaha R1 7.258s
6. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10RR 7.501s
7. Michael van der Mark NED PATA Yamaha YZF-R1 8.500s
8. Marco Melandri ITA Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R 10.184s
9. Eugene Laverty IRE Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4 11.072s
10. Jordi Torres ESP MV Agusta 1000 F4 11.178s
11. Loris Baz FRA Althea BMW S1000RR 24.062s
12. Lorenzo Savadori ITA Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4 24.632s
13. Leandro Mercado ARG Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki ZX-10RR 26.114s
14. Roman Ramos ESP Team GoEleven Kawasaki ZX-10RR 26.142s
15. Toprak Razgatlioglu TUR Puccetti Kawasaki ZX-10RR 26.320s
16. Yonny Hernandez COL Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10RR 30.665s
17. PJ Jacobsen USA TripleM Honda CBR1000RR SP2 32.625s
18. Jake Gagne USA Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2 38.725s

Did not finish

Ondrej Jezek CZE Guandalini Yamaha YZF-R1

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