Jonathan Rea extends championship lead after Sunday double at Estoril
Jonathan Rea celebrated a Sunday double at Estoril in Portugal following a dramatic final race at the second round of the World Superbike Championship.
Rea’s chief title challenger Scott Redding crashed out of second place as he battled for the lead of the race with the six-time champion.
The Aruba.it Ducati rider remounted and eventually earned two points as he crossed the line in 14th place, although Redding is now 36 points behind Rea after the first two rounds of the championship.
Earlier in the race, American rider Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) wiped out Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) after running into the rear of the Italian’s machine on the second lap. Rinaldi was holding second place at the time of the incident behind Redding, with Rea back in sixth after he dropped several places on the opening lap following a hard move by Rinaldi, who made contact with the Kawasaki rider.
Following the crash, Rea – who was running the harder SC0 rear tyre while the majority of his rivals opted for the softer option – passed the fast-starting Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse BMW) at the chicane to take third and began hunting down Redding and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha).
The 34-year-old inherited second place behind Redding when Razgatlioglu was forced to complete the first of two long lap penalties for jumping the start of the race.
Rea gradually reeled in Redding and made his move for the lead on the brakes into turn one with seven laps to go. However, Redding immediately hit back as Rea ran slightly wide, although the lead quickly changed hands again as Rea dived under Redding on the brakes.
Redding then lost the front of his Ducati at turn three and slid into the gravel before re-joining the race.
Chaz Davies came through the pack to take second place on the Team Go Eleven Ducati, 2.7s behind Rea, with Razgatlioglu finishing in a lonely third following his two long lap penalties.
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team) took fifth ahead of rookie Andrea Locatelli, who earned the best result to date in the championship. Michael van der Mark completed the top six for BMW Motorrad.
Laverty sealed a top-ten finish as he took ninth behind Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad).
Rea is now 36 points clear at the top of the standings following his 103rd WSBK victory, with Razgatlioglu in second place, a point ahead of Redding.
Round three of the championship takes place at Misano in Italy from June 11-13.
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