Honda rider Nicky Hayden took his first ever World Superbike win when he got the better of a wet Sepang track to come home ahead of Ducati’s Davide Giugliano and reigning Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki).

Nicky Hayden dominated in the wet

Image courtesy of WorldSBK

Saturday’s sun was replaced by heavy rain on Sunday. A downpour just before the scheduled start forced the postponement of the World Supersport race until after the World Superbike race but the premier class did manage to get underway on time albeit on a very wet circuit.

The opening couple of laps saw all the riders trying to find where the grip was with Hayden the most confident, moving up from the second row of the grid into the lead ahead of Rea with Chaz Davies settling into third. Hayden, lapping around half a second faster that the rest of the pack, opened up a substantial lead which he was able to hold until the flag.

Giugliano was the next to feel comfortable in the tricky conditions, setting a number fastest laps as he caught and then passed team mate Davies. Both of them made their way past Rea but it was Giugiliano who had the confidence to set off after Hayden. Behind him Rea and Davies battled for the final podium position with Rea securing it to keep his record of finishing on the podium in every race this year intact.

Anthony West, riding as replacement for the injured Sylvain Barrier on the Pedercini Kawasaki, lived up to his reputation as a maestro of wet conditions coming home in fifth ahead of the second Honda of Michael van der Mark Who worked his way up from tenth on the grid, getting past the Aprillia mounted Alex de Angelis in the final corner.

Tom Sykes, who started from pole position, never seemed to be comfortable and slowly dropped down the field, eventually having to settle for eighth. He was followed over the line by Leon Camier with Markus Reiterberger completing the top ten for Althea BMW after a mechanical problem forced the German to retire in Race 1.

Rea increases his title lead once again, as the paddock now heads to Donington Park for Round 7 in two weeks time.