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Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes ended the WorldSBK weekend at Estoril on a high, with Rea winning both Sunday races and Lowes securing fourth place in Race Two.

Weekend Recap: May 21 - 22

May 232022

George Russell Takes 3rd and a Podium Spot


Although unable to extend his run of five straight Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix victories, Mercedes-AMG superstar Lewis Hamilton impressed the throngs at the sunny Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday afternoon with a sensational recovery drive after a first-lap crash with Haas's Kevin Magnusson had left the Monster Energy-backed racer with a major challenge to overcome. Nonetheless, and after a change of tires, the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion blitzed the field on the 2.905-mile, 16-turn circuit to reach fifth before the checkered flag was unfurled and waved. Meanwhile, in Barcelona, it was a second podium finish of the season for George Russell and the score ensured the 24-year-old Englishman extended his run of finishing fifth or above in the first five races of the 2022 global campaign. Russell has continued to excel in the Mercedes-AMG F1 W3 E Performance race car during his first-year season with Mercedes-AMG, but despite some impressive wheel-to-wheel defending, could not hold off the competition’s charge. "Today was very tough. I gave everything I could do to hold Max Verstappen off but he did an amazing job," Russell said a few hours after the Grand Prix had wrapped up. "I am proud to be standing here ... It hurt us a lot but when I had the Red Bulls in my mirrors all I was doing was everything to keep them behind. It is a lot of points on the board.”

Jonathan Rea Makes a Last-Lap Move to Victory


Flat out Monstrous race weekend for Monster Energy’s Jonathan "Six-Time" Rea (Kawasaki Racing/Team WorldSBK) as the Irishman rallied back in stunning fashion to top overall WSBK points leader Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) in a razor-close finish on Portugal’s famed Circuito Estoril. The Race 2 win, added to his thrilling last-lap victory in the Tissot Superpole Race, pulled Rea to within 17 points, 161-144, of Bautista after three rounds of WSBK racing.

Rea, trailing for all but a portion of Race 2, made a move for the lead on the last lap (21st) in his win over Bautista. Bautista had taken the race lead on Lap 11, moving from 3rd to 1st in Turn 1. Rea re-took the lead back from Bautista on Turn 6, only to have Bautista snatch it back – and hold it through Lap 21. Rea would dig down deep, clocking the contest’s fastest lap time, going inside on Bautista on Turn 9, and beating Spaniard to the tape by .194 seconds.

Said Rea: “I played my cards, especially on the last lap. The race was quite stressful. We had this sea mist all race, especially in the last section of the circuit, going into Turns, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 so my visor was full of water and after a few laps behind Toprak (Razgatlioglu/Yamaha), we had grip so I just convinced myself that it was dry. When Alvaro (Bautista) came past, it was like the seriousness of the race just switched on, so I knew I had to be there, to go with him. I thought he was going to get me on the line, so I tried to make myself as small as possible. It was really, really exciting especially when you come out on top in a race like that.”

Josh Strang Earns a Dominant Victory


Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Monster Energy’s Josh Strang (Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green) defended his John Penton GNCC title in Millfield, Ohio, on Saturday, topping 2nd place Ricky Russell (Gas Gas) by 12 seconds, 3:05:16.549 to 3:05:28.379. The win, the Australian’s first of the season, launched Strang into the XC1’s top ten, 8th, in the overall standings with 70 points. Strang won the overall GNCC title in 2010 and has also won multiple International Six Days Event (ISDE) Trophy championships.
One of the oldest consecutive-running GNCC events on the tour, the John Penton, Round 7 of the GNCCs held at Sunday Creek Raceway, is Ohio’s premier competition off-road motorcycle event. Strang, racing the proven Kawasaki KX450F, dominated the course – featuring fast, flowing trails and tight, technical sections.
In XC2 racing, Strang’s Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green teammate and fellow countryman, Lyndon Snodgrass, placed 5th overall with a time of 3:12:51.555.


Monster Hydro Athletes Take 1st Place, Rule of Three Gravel Race - Bentonville, Arkansas


In true Arkansas race-day fashion, a storm rolled into Bentonville, as riders were making their way to the Rule of 3 gravel race. The day had on and off rain, and as promised a mixture of terrain, with a course that was equal parts road, gravel roads, and single-track that created a challenging and sloppy course. Monster Hydro athletes Sofia Gomez-Villafane and Russell Finsterwald made the select groups and rode at the front all day both coming away with the 1st place finishes against the stacked field.