Jonathan Rea 'laughing over funny Kirkistown story' on final laps of Superpole race at Motorland Aragon
Jonathan Rea reflected on a madcap practice day at Kirkistown in Northern Ireland as he mastered the tricky conditions at Motorland Aragon to secure his 101st World Superbike victory.
The Kawasaki rider battled with Scott Redding (Aruba.it Ducati) and his Kawasaki team-mate Alex Lowes on the first few laps as the rain fell, before Rea gradually opened a cushion.
His decision to run with intermediate tyres paid dividends in the greasy conditions, with Lowes – also on intermediates – making the most of his tyres to record another one-two for Kawasaki following Rea’s milestone 100th career victory in Saturday’s first race.
Briton Redding dropped down the order in the 10-lap Superpole race after choosing wets, leaving American Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) and Chaz Davies (Team Go Eleven) to battle it out for third.
It was Gerloff who came out on top, passing the Welshman on lap four and breaking clear to wrap up the final rostrum position by almost four seconds.
Rea, whose winning margin over Lowes at the line was 3.5s, said he was thinking about an occasion at Kirkistown in Co Down in 2008 with his brother Richard, and former top road racer Keith Amor, on the final laps of the race.
“I was laughing on those last three or four laps, and my brother Richard and Keith Amor will love this story,” he said.
“In 2008, we took my brother’s Superstock bike to Kirkistown in Northern Ireland and they were laughing at me because I wanted to ride in the rain with slick tyres, just to find the drying line.
“I was taking a lot of risks and enjoying it, and after I had a lot of confidence in these conditions because before that, I was terrible. They were saying, ‘you’ll never ride in these conditions,’ but here we are, 13 years later, and that practice paid off,” added Rea, who has now won more races at Aragon in World Superbikes than any other rider following his eighth victory on Sunday.
“It was a funny story I was thinking about when I was riding and it was good to get it done, and thanks to the team because it was really, really difficult to make that set-up for these conditions, when it was changing every lap. They did an awesome job and let’s see what happens for race two.”
Michael van der Mark finished fifth for BMW Motorrad, with the top six completed by Toprak Razgatlioglu on the Pata Yamaha.
Ducati rider Redding finished in eighth place after his tyre gamble failed to pay off.
Eugene Laverty finished narrowly outside the points in 16th on the RC Squadra Corse BMW.