Jonathan Rea has slashed Marco Melandri’s advantage in the World Superbike Championship to two points after claiming his maiden victory of 2018 in race one in Thailand on Saturday. Rea controlled the race after securing pole position ahead of his Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes, and while Sykes was first over the line in the first two laps, Rea quickly took the lead. Controlling the race from the front, Rea won by 1.550 seconds – his 40th race win in WorldSBK for Kawasaki, and the first since new regulations came in to limit Kawasaki to a lower maximum rev ceiling than any of their four-cylinder rivals. The win cements his unprecedented record at the Chang International Circuit, where he has won six of the seven races held since 2015. The Ulsterman said: “I tried to manage the gap and I didn’t want to make any mistakes because the pace was really hot. “It feels amazing to win and we have worked really hard with the bike all weekend towards the end goal and we did, so I’m happy.” Xavi Fores finished as the runner-up on satellite Barni Ducati, 1.5 seconds behind Rea, while Ducati factory rider Chaz Davies edged out Red Bull Honda’s Leon Camier in a scintillating scrap to snatch the final place on the rostrum. Alex Lowes on the Yamaha and Sykes completed the top six.