Jonathan Rea ended Alavaro Bautista's 11-race winning streak to grab victory in the opening World Superbikes race at Imola.

Starting in second place on the grid, the four-time world champion beat Bautista by 7.8 seconds, with Turkey's Toprak Razgatlioglu well behind in third place.

Victory gave Rea his eighth career triumph at Imola and his 72nd career win in World Superbikes, ending his longest run without a win in the competition for six years.

"I needed that for my confidence, for my team and the championship," said Antrim native Rea.

"I couldn't not win and I've been visualising winning this race all week. I think this track is a real rider's track and I was able to make a difference."

Rea had overtaken Chaz Davies, who started on pole, on the fourth turn and proceeded to dominate the race, building his lead as the laps went by.

Behind him, Bautista also pulled clear to consolidate second place, while Razgatlioglu won a thrilling battle for third also involving Michael Van Der Mark and Leon Haslam.

Rea will look to build on his breakthrough when he contests the second Imola race over 20 laps on Sunday.