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Jonathan Rea at the 2017 World Superbike Geico US Round

Rea rolls on with WorldSBK Laguna Seca success

Jul 102017

WorldSBK emerged from a small summer hiatus to tackle the heat of Laguna Seca in northern California and reigning world champion Jonathan Rea maintained his remarkable record from eight rounds of thirteen in the 2017 FIM series by riding his works Kawasaki to 2nd and 1st positions at the wonderfully fast and spiralling layout.

The historic and arguably most revered motorsports venue on the west coast of the USA was the stage for World Superbike for the thirtieth time and drew the series together in the wake of round seven at Misano and prior to a proper break in the calendar with the German round not set to occur until mid-August. 

Rea came to America defending a comfortable lead in the standings, with the scent of victory from 2016 still hovering in the air and with the knowledge he had only missed the podium once in the fourteen races in SBK this year. On Saturday he engaged in battle with teammate Tom Sykes and Ducati rival Chaz Davies and was unable to overhaul the latter in the final two laps; sealing the runner-up slot several seconds ahead of Sykes.


The Brit was ruthless on the first lap of the second sprint on Sunday afternoon (and from the reversed grid concept that saw #1 launch from the third row) to nestle behind Sykes as the field tipped into the tight left-hand Turn11. He soon muscled his way to the front and went on to control the race, complete with startling images of the ZX-10RR weaving and sliding around the Californian tarmac, protesting under the speed and drops.


Rea snatched his ninth chequered flag of the campaign; more than a 50% win ratio in 2017. His cushion in the standings is now up to 59 points over Sykes, which means a margin of one event with just five remaining.


“It was awesome to win today and we did it by putting 25 good laps together,” Rea said. “Right from the first lap Tom got away and I found it hard coming through at that stage. But when I got clear I put my head down and I knew it was ‘game on’. We made a real step with the set-up overnight. I left the changes for today to Pere my crew chief and did not go into too much detail. He came up with a good plan in warm-up and it seemed to work. Everything seemed to be coming easier and during the race. I want to thank all my team for giving me a great package and this is a good way to go into the summer break.”


“I was in a bit of a hurry to get to the front in race two and I was hoping to be going there alone. I came out of the last turn, looked at the big screen and saw my team-mate there. I wanted the riders behind to battle for a while but it wasn’t the case. We have to be happy with second because yesterday and today I gave it everything on track. Credit to the boys in the garage as today’s pace was faster, the race was faster and had a lot safer feeling. I am a little disappointed to lose some points in the championship but there is still a long way to go.”