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Jonathan Rea at the 2019 WorldSBK San Marino round
NEWS

75/150: Rea keeps hat in the ring with Misano moves

Jun 232019

WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea had more than one reason to celebrate his double success on the first day of action at Misano and the San Marino round in Italy. #1 took great satisfaction in pegging back a few more points on title rival Alvaro Bautista but the chequered flag and Superpole effort around the flat and rain-soaked circuit meant JR toasted ten years of victory in the FIM World Championship and also became the most prolific racer at the renowned Misano venue.

A summer cloudburst threw Friday’s sunny set-up and acclimatisation work into the nearby Adriatic sea and gave Rea an opening to use his optimum feeling with the factory Kawasaki. After a first back-to-back Superpole achievement since 2017, Rea kept his head as the first race was delayed, red-flagged and then restarted amidst the storm.

Despite the brave efforts of Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes in pursuit of Rea’s rear wheel (the Englishman would eventually fall out of contention for the win) the world champion held firm and faultless to crown a special triumph a decade after his very first WorldSBK milestone at the very same track.

“I was very nervous as we did not really have a wet set-up,” Rea admitted. “So we just tried to maximise our potential, ride my own race and our bike works well in these conditions. The track was changing lap-to-lap. You need much more concentration in a wet race, because the bike is moving much more underneath you and you have to be very precise, especially with the white lines and the kerbs. When Alex came past I was not prepared to take that risk to go that fast. When I was leading the race I tried to manage my rhythm and the gap to behind. Arturo my mechanic was super-good with my pit-board so I could enjoy the last lap.”

 

On Sunday Rea slipped out of further podium contention as Lowes rallied to grab second place in the Superpole race. The Kawasaki man still picked-up the green machine to take some points for 5th in what was a total weather-reverse from Saturday.

The last outing of the weekend allowed Rea to strike back. Bautista tumbled out of the lead and the Northern Irishman won a gripping duel with Toprak Razgatlıoğlu to take his 75th career garland and 150th podium. The added bonus was the reduction of the championship points deficit to just 16 behind Bautista. The result became even sweeter for the Kawasaki Racing Team when Leon Haslam held on for third place.

 

“Winning two races at Misano was good for us, especially the two important races. Unfortunately in the Superpole Race today I made a big mistake in turn ten, when I lost the front. But I restarted to finish fifth which was all important. Race Two today was a tough one because the temperature was hot. I was very unsure of the pace. I saw Alvaro go down very early in the race and the conditions out there were very tough, especially for the front tyre but we won, which was the main thing. It was a super-nice day for Kawasaki because we put three bikes on the Race Two podium.”

 

Misano was painful for Lowes’ Yamaha teammate Michael Van Der Mark who crashed out on Friday and sustained a broken right wrist as well as a collection of fractured ribs. It was a spectacular and scary fall for the Dutchman and desperately unlucky after he’d sampled his first wins of 2019 at the previous round in Spain.

 

WorldSBK now has dates at Donington Park (UK) and Laguna Seca (USA) in July before the summer break through August.

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