It was a Kawasaki 1-2 as Tom Sykes slotted into second place before he was overtaken on lap 3 by Leon Haslam. The Aprilia rider dived down the inside of Sykes into a tight right-hander, forcing the former World Champion to sit up with a shake of the head.
Sykes then came under attack from another Brit, this time in the shape of Alex Lowes while yet another Brit, Chaz Davies, was right on their rear tyre with Jordi Torres joining in the battle for third place.
As Rea continued to pull away with Haslam desperately trying to begin a fight for the win, the battle for third proved to be hard-fought as Lowes tagged Sykes as he overtook him up the inside at Turn 3 in a rather cheeky move. The next to try attack Sykes was Davies, however, instead the Ducati rider slide off the track and off his bike at Turn 12. He was able to rejoin – still inside the points but down in 15th place.
Just past the halfway point of the race Sykes was elevated back up to third when Lowes went down in the exact same manner as Davies, sliding out at Turn 12. He too rejoined, lapping in ninth place.
At the front, Haslam had begun to make inroads into Rea’s lead, cutting it down to 1.6s, only for the Kawasaki rider to respond by extending it back up to 2.2s.
Three laps later he was all but assured of the victory as his advantage over Haslam was 5.8s. Extending that in the final two laps, Rea won by the first Thai WSBK by 6.329s over Haslam.
Sykes completed the podium having held off the charging Torres in the final four lap while reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli was fifth ahead of the recovering Lowes.
Matteo Baioccoo was seventh ahead of Troy Bayliss, David Salom and Leandro Mercado.
Out of 26 riders who began the 20-lap race, only 19 finishes.
Wild card rider and local boy Chanon Chumjai was the first retirement. Moments later he was joined by Leon Camier, who lost it into the gravel at Turn 2.
Niccola Canepa added his name to the growing list as did Michael van der Mark, who pulled off the track with a mechanical problem. Christophe Ponsson, Anucha Nakcharoensri and Larry Pegram also recorded DNFs.
1 REA Jonathan Kawasaki ZX-10R
2 HASLAM Leon Aprilia RSV4 RF 6.329
3 SYKES Tom Kawasaki ZX-10R 8.183
4 TORRES Jordi Aprilia RSV4 RF 8.513
5 GUINTOLI Sylvain Honda CBR1000RR SP 20.502
6 LOWES Alex Suzuki GSX-R1000 22.249
7 BAIOCCO Matteo Ducati Panigale R 26.118
8 BAYLISS Troy Ducati Panigale R 27.174
9 SALOM David Kawasaki ZX-10R 27.925
10 MERCADO Leandro Ducati Panigale R 32.610
11 DAVIES Chaz Ducati Panigale R 37.330
12 TEROL Nicolas Ducati Panigale R 37.902
13 DE PUNIET Randy Suzuki GSX-R1000 41.722
14 BARRIER Sylvain BMW S1000 RR 50.099
15 RAMOS Román Kawasaki ZX-10R 59.457
16 GILDENHUYS Greg Kawasaki ZX-10R 80.519
17 BARRAGÁN Santiago Kawasaki ZX-10R 80.931
18 TOTH Imre BMW S1000 RR 1 LAP
19 SIKORA Ireneusz BMW S1000 RR 1 LAP
RT PEGRAM Larry EBR 1190 RX 4 LAPS
RT NAKCHAROENSRI Anucha Honda CBR1000RR 7 LAPS
RT VD MARK Michael Honda CBR1000RR SP 14 LAPS
RT PONSSON Christophe Kawasaki ZX-10R 16 LAPS
RT CANEPA Niccolò EBR 1190 RX 17 LAPS
RT CAMIER Leon MV Agusta 1000 F4 19 LAPS
RT CHUMJAI Chanon BMW S1000 RR 20 LAPS