It took BMW three years and couple of crew changes and a former MotoGP rider by the name of Marco Melandri to get themselves their first ever win in World Superbikes Championship. As expected it was a tight race 1 at Donington Park with the four front row starters, Tom Sykes, Marco Melandri, Leon Haslam and Max Biaggi battling it over the race distance and never losing touch only to have Jonathan Rea enter the fray in the final exciting paint swapping laps.

Sykes was on pole, but Haslam went on out side to overtake the Kawasaki rider at the first corner, but the Huddersfield man wrestled back the lead, after an error by Haslam with the BMW duo still hot on his tail with Biaggi taking the rear of the fleeing group and Rea more than a second behind after battling it out with Carlos Checa.

The race would turn into a double battle a Sykes vs Haslam and Melandri vs Biaggi with the riders exchanging passes until first Haslam and then Biaggi – almost simultaneously – running off track giving Melandri the lead and 1.8 second breathing space until the finish line. BMW team mate Haslam came in second after he struggled to get past Sykes after his error at Foggy’s, but he managed to regain the spot at the Hairpin and hold on to it, while Sykes finished in third after leading a big part of the race.

A hard charging Rea was fourth after he got the better of Biaggi on the final lap, when the Aprilia rider went wide and snuck out from behind him. Reigning champion Carlos Checa after a very prudent start pushed up to sixth after having had to battle not only with Rea but also with Sylvain Guintoli who then faded to 8th. Checa’s Althea team-mate Davide Guigliano came home in 7th, with Fixi Suzuki’s Leon Camier in ninth and clearly suffering Michel Fabrizio rounded out the top ten with his GoldBet BMW.

WSBK Donington Race 1 results
  • 1. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 34’26.736
  • 2. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 34’27.464
  • 3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 34’28.345
  • 4. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 34’28.555
  • 5. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 34’28.838
  • 6. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 34’31.556
  • 7. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 34’34.256
  • 8. Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 34’34.663
  • 9. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 34’41.880
  • 10. Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 34’42.801
  • 11. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 34’46.541
  • 12. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 34’46.906
  • 13. Maxime Berger (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 34’48.010
  • 14. Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) Ducati 1098R 34’48.253
  • 15. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 34’53.656
  • 16. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 35’01.761
  • 17. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 35’05.929
  • 18. Lorenzo Zanetti (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 35’09.070
  • 19. Niccolò Canepa (Red Devils Roma) Ducati 1098R 35’10.290
  • NC. Mark Aitchison (Grillini Progea Superbike Team) BMW S1000 RR 35’50.353
  • NC. Peter Hickman (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 35’17.985
  • RT. Gary Mason (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 22’08.892
  • RT. Leandro Mercado (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R

Marking BMW’s first victory in 35 attempts, the manufacturer is also celebrating a 1-2 after Haslam fought back from his earlier mistake – when he ran across the gravel at Esses whilst battling with his team-mate – to snatch second from Sykes on the penultimate lap.

Sykes led for most of the opening laps, butwas forced into a defensive state during the latter stages. Nonetheless, he held onto third, holding off a charging Jonathan Rea, who made up three seconds in the closing stages to almost snatch an unlikely podium. Max Biaggi had to make do with fifth but holds on as the championship leader.