Five wins from five for Johnathan Rea, and his championship lead extended to 47 points meant that Race 1 at Aragon was mission accomplished for the reigning world champion.
A penultimate lap crash for Chaz Davies robbed the Spanish crowd of a last lap shootout, but in the preceding 17 laps, the crowd was treated to a fantastic scrap.
Davies, the favorite at the start of the weekend, converted his pole position into an early lead, but with Rea biting at his heels the Kawasaki rider was able to take the lead on numerous occasions.
Ultimately Davies rebuffed all overtaking moves from Rea by immediately retaking the build, but the die was cast for what would happen at the end of the race.
Jonathan Rea maintained his 100% record to start the 2017 World Superbike season, and in doing so the Northern Irishman became the first rider since Neil Hodgson in 2003 to open his campaign with four consecutive victories.
The Rea has made the Chang International Circuit his own over the course of the last three years, and this weekend was no exception.
A dominant lights-to-flag victory on Saturday was followed by a tremendous opening lap in Race 2, which saw him slice through the field to be in second position by the end of the opening tour.
Jonathan Rea claimed a dominant victory at the Chang International Circuit, with the reigning World Champion setting a searing pace en route to his third victory in a row.
When he arrived in parc ferme after Race 1, the Northern Irishman’s emotions were clear for all to see as he celebrated his 41st WorldSBK victory.
“I felt really good and quite calm, my guys gave me a really good bike again and that was my plan,” said Rea. “We had a really good pace, but Chaz also had a very fast pace, as did Marco, so I had to ride away into T1 to make the holeshot, I wanted to get my head down in T1 and I did it.”
“I managed to get a good gap and then built up a rhythm, I was just doing my job and it was enough to win, so I’m really happy. Last year there was a big fight between me, Tom, and Chaz, but the bike’s improved a lot since last year, so I’m really happy with that.”
The second race of the World Superbike season saw history made, with the introduction of the much touted revised grid that saw the podium men from Race 1 start from the third row.
This meant that Jonathan Rea, Chaz Davies, and Tom Sykes had to fight through the field during the 22-lap affair.
It proved little challenge for Rea and Davies to hit the front, but ultimately Sykes lost too much time making progress, and abused his tires trying to bridge the gap to the leading group.
That leading group consisted of three Ducati’s, a Kawasaki and a Yamaha with the Italian horde of Davies, Marco Melandri, and Xavi Fores – all taking turns at the head of the train.
WorldSBK came back with a bang in the opening round of the 2017 season. With five different leaders, and four manufacturers in the scrap for the podium the Phillip Island crowd was treated to a superb season opener that eventually saw Jonathan Rea come out on top.
The Northern Irishman edged the win from Chaz Davies, after a race that saw the field race with one eye on tire conservation and the other on their rivals.
Afterwards Rea compared the 22-lap affair to a cycling race, where everyone tried to shadow their rivals rather than show their true pace. With that being the case it allowed the likes of Alex Lowes and Leon Camier to fight at the front, and the Yamaha rider came within a whisker of the podium.
The second day of the Jerez test dawned in similar circumstances to yesterday. With dense fog and cool temperatures, it looked as though there would be sparse action on track, but almost immediately Ondrej Jezek rolled down pitlane.
With the Grillini team only running for half of the allotted time, Jezek was keen to get out and gain some experience on a World Superbike machine.
While the Czech was spinning laps, the majority of the field was biding their time for the conditions to improve. While yesterday the KRT riders stayed in the pits all day they did get some wet weather running today.
Come to Spain they said, the weather will be great they said…There are typically only a handful of valuable winter testing venues. Jerez in the south of Spain is one of the most popular.
Usually the winter sun provides almost perfect conditions for World Superbike teams to undertake their off-season programs. The weather was not co-operating today, and there was limited mileage for all of the runners.
The test did however offer the first glimpses of the Milwaukee Aprilia. Their partnership has been one of the biggest off-season talking points, and while Lorenzo Savadori and Eugene Laverty were unable to complete a lot of miles, they were at least able to start their tenure with the team.
Jonathan Rea confirmed his status as one of the all time WorldSBK riders by claiming back-to-back crowns on Saturday, but in the final race of the season it was Chaz Davies who claimed the spoils.
For Davies, it was a seventh win in the final eight races of the season, and six in a row, but ultimately the Welshman came up just two points short of Tom Sykes in the fight for second in the standings.
Those final points came courtesy of a gift from Rea to his teammate.
Jonathan Rea stands on the verge of defending his World Superbike title, after finishing second at Jerez in Race 2. The Northern Irishman came out on top of a tussle with his Kawasaki teammate, Tom Sykes, and will enter the final round of the season with an almost unassailable 48-point lead.
Rea and Sykes had a typically spirited fight for second, but once the champion was in front, it was difficult to see him being beaten. Sykes, despite having a faster bike in different areas of the track, was consistently unable to get past his teammate.
As has been the case so often in the past, when the Kawasaki riders fought on track, it was Rea who gained the upper hand, and in doing so he has almost certainly claimed the title.
Chaz Davies continued his dominant run of form in WorldSBK by winning at Jerez. The Welshman waltzed to a his fifth win in the last six races, and once again showed just how strong he has become in 2016.
The package of Davies and the Ducati has consistently been to the fore this season, and a constant thorn in the side of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes.
If not for a mid-season blip that saw him score just 46 points from a possible 150, Davies would be in firm title contention but that run of form ruled him out of proceedings.
It was smart strategy that won Chaz Davies the opening race of the French round of WorldSBK; but in Race 2, it was patience and perseverance that won out.
The Welshman clocked up his third win in four races, and each have come in very different circumstances. A dominant victory in Germany started this rich vein of form, but France showed how strong Davies has become.