WSBK: Jonathan Rea bidding for repeat of Thailand brace

Jonathan Rea made a sensational start to the defence of his World Superbike crown.
Jonathan Rea made a sensational start to the defence of his World Superbike crown.

Jonathan Rea says his blistering start to the defence of his World Superbike crown has given him added motivation heading into round two of the championship this weekend in Thailand.

The Kawasaki rider won both races at Phillip Island in Australia last month to claim a maximum haul of 50 points, throwing down the gauntlet to the pretenders to his throne.

One again, the 29-year-old has the podium firmly in his sights at the Chang International Circuit, where Rea bagged at brace during the inaugural WSBK meeting at the ultra-modern venue in Buriram in 2015.

He now has 31 wins in total, putting him level with two-time WSBK champion Colin Edwards and fifth overall with the American in terms of overall race victories.

“Going to Thailand off the back of an incredible start to the season, with a double win in Australia, just gives me a lot of satisfaction – and motivation as well: motivation to keep the bike at the front,” said Rea.

“Friday is the most important day to understand set-up because on Saturday we are already racing. With the new schedule we have a little bit of a different strategy for our race weekends.

“We were quite lucky in Phillip Island with our pre-event tests so in Thailand we need to make sure we can plan the weekend carefully,” he added. “Hopefully, come Saturday and Sunday, we can have two good results again.”

Rea holds an advantage of 14 points over Honda’s Michael van der Mark after round one, with Ducati’s Davide Giugliano 21 points in arrears in third.

The Northern Ireland rider’s KRT team-mate, Tom Sykes, is 29 points behind after failing to live up to the promise he showed during qualifying at Phillip Island, when he put the ZX-10R on pole.

Race one takes place on Saturday (9am GMT) after final practice and Superpole. Race two is also scheduled for a 9am start on Sunday.

Following this weekend’s second round, the championship heads to Europe and the logistical base of the KRT team at Motorland Aragon in Spain, with the feature races on April 2-3.