JONATHAN REA: Double delight at World Superbikes in America
Jonathan Rea had a double race win at Laguna Seca to extend his lead at the top of the World Superbike standings to 75 points.
Rea followed up his success in Saturday’s race by taking first place in yesterday’s second race of the weekend, his 62nd career triumph in the series.
Chaz Davies was second and the Ballyclare man becomes the first rider to win four World Superbike races at the California circuit.
Rea is chasing a fourth consecutive world title to equal the career tally of Carl Fogarty.
Early leader Eugene Laverty secured the final podium position by coming home third on his Milwaukee Aprilia.
Laverty had finished fourth in race two at Brno two weeks and repeated that result in race one in the United States, but improved this time round to clinch his 34th rostrum in the championship, but his first since returning to the series in 2017.
Rea powered to his seventh victory of the season and 61st career win with a dominant performance in race one at round eight of the Motul FIM World Superbike Championship.
In the blazing Californian sunshine front row starter Rea on the Kawasaki was immediately involved in a battle for the lead with Aruba.it Racing – Ducati’s and pole setter Chaz Davies.
After an early pass on race leader Davies, Rea sat on the Welshman’s back wheel until Davies made a mistake on lap seven, running wide at the entrance of the famous Corkscrew chicane.
It was the opportunity the Ballyclare rider needed and he instantly took his chance to take the lead.
Rea built on his lead from then on to ease out to an eventual clear advantage of 2.978 seconds after 25 intense laps, on a tricky track surface that rose to over 50°C under the hottest conditions of the weekend.
Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes followed up his debut win at the last round by finishing on the last step of the podium.
Local rider Eugene Laverty on the Milwaukee Aprilia repeated his best performance this season with an excellent fourth, making it four different machines in the top four positions, and highlighting how far the RSV4-RF has progressed in recent races.
The Toomebridge rider will also have the bonus of starting race two pole tomorrow, at a track where a front row can be a near guarantee of success.
“My aim in race two is to get that podium,” stated Laverty. In the early laps I felt good behind Chaz, although his pace was really fast.
“I knew as soon as he made that mistake I wanted to go through, set my rhythm, and tenth-by-tenth slowly build up a lead.
“It was not easy, much more difficult than I expected.
“The front grip was dropping quite a lot at the end so I just had to ride accordingly.
“We have not had that issue all weekend but the temperature change today, that extra ten degrees on the track, was massive.
“We learned some things from the race today to be a little bit stronger tomorrow in the sedcond race,” said race winner Rea.
Davies added: “The mistake on the corkscrew didn’t cost me the win, it let Jonny by but I don’t think we had the pace at the end to challenge for the win, I was trying to adapt my style for the last ten laps, but nothing was really doing the trick for me.”
And Rea said after his win yesterday.
“My thoughts were with Dan Kneen and Adam Lyon (who were killed in accidents at the Isle of Man TT) and these race wins are in their memory.”