Ducati’s Scott Redding claimed a dominant victory in the final race of the World Superbike season opener at Aragon, as Jonathan Rea came into contact with Garrett Gerloff.
Having been caught out on wet tyres on a drying track in the superpole race earlier on Saturday, Redding made the right call to start Race 2 on slick tyres, allowing him to claim his sixth victory in WSBK by nearly 10 seconds and prevent Rea from completing a weekend sweep.
Six-time WSBK champion Rea led the field early on from pole position from Kawasaki teammate Alex Lowes but both soon came under pressure from the GRT Yamaha of Garrett Gerloff.
Gerloff dispatched Lowes on the second lap and then set his sights on Rea, but their battle for the lead ended in a disaster.
On lap 4, Gerloff made a late lunge on Rea going into Turn 14 but the Kawasaki rider was caught unaware, causing the two to collide and go straight through the corner. Gerloff fell off his Yamaha seconds after impact while Rea was able to rejoin the track immediately, albeit down in fourth place.
This allowed Michael van der Mark to take the lead on the new BMW M1000RR, having passed Lowes moments before the incident.
However, as the track began to dry, Redding slowly rose to the fore on his slicks-shod Ducati having started eighth on the grid, lapping two seconds quicker than his rivals at one point.
Having moved up to fifth already, Redding made light work of Rea and the Yamaha of Toprak Razgatlioglu, before reeling in Lowes and eventually van der Mark’s BMW on the back straight with 13 laps still to run.
Once out in front, there was no catching Redding, the Ducati rider cruising out front on slick tyres as his rivals struggled to keep the pace on intermediate rubber on a drying track.
Behind Redding, a long battle for second place ensued as van der Mark’s pace began to fade, and after trading positions multiple times a recovering Rea was able to pass the BMW rider at Turn 13 with three laps to go to finish second, limiting the damage to Redding in the standings.
Lowes also found a way through to make it two Kawasakis on the podium, while Tom Sykes on the second BMW also overtook his teammate right at the end of the race to claim fourth.
Razgatlioglu was unable to keep up with the rest of the group led by Rea and ended up sixth behind van der Mark, while Gerloff was able to remount on his bike on his way to seventh – having been handed a long lap penalty for causing a collision with Rea.
Jonas Folger was classified eighth for BMW’s new satellite team Bonovo MGM, as Andrea Locatelli (Yamaha) and Lucas Mahias (Puccetti Kawasaki) completed the top 10.