World Superbikes Argentina: Jonathan Rea hits back in title race and vows 'we won't give up'
Jonathan Rea came out fighting in the final race of the weekend at the penultimate round of the World Superbike Championship in Argentina to pull back some ground in the title race.
The reigning champion finished in second place ahead of double winner Toprak Razgatlioglu, with Scott Redding pulling clear to win on the Aruba.it Ducati.
Razgatlioglu now leads the standings by 30 points with one round left in Indonesia next month.
Rea said: “The position doesn’t really matter so much today, for me it was more about the feeling on the bike. I want to thank my team so much and especially Pere (Riba), because he never gave up investigating my problems this weekend and in this race we found something good.
“I could feel on the out lap that we had a bike I could fight with today, so thanks to all the team. We won’t give up and I enjoyed the race and I enjoyed being here in Argentina – thanks to all the fans who came out.”
In a frenetic first half of the race, Razgatlioglu, Rea and Redding went toe-to-toe, swapping places at the front as they fought for victory at the San Juan Villicum circuit.
The lead changed hands on countless occasions, with each rider getting their nose in front before Redding was finally able to make a break for it on lap 10.
The British rider put the hammer down and quickly pulled clear, leaving Razgatlioglu and Rea to fight it out for second place.
A few errors by Rea allowed Razgatlioglu some breathing room, but the Kawasaki rider began to close the deficit once more and was able to attack his title rival entering the final third of the race.
Razgatlioglu tried all he could to defend the runner-up spot, but Rea was able to edge ahead and the 34-year-old went on to cement a valuable second place and 20 points, 2.4s behind race winner Redding.
Axel Bassani took fourth on the Motocorsa Racing Ducati ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati), with Michael van der Mark sixth on the BMW Motorrad M1000RR.
Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad) finished outside the points in 16th.