WSBK: Rea Races To Double Delight in Italy.

Jonathan Rea once again stormed to the top of the podium as his assault on the World Superbike Championship continues to leave others in his wake, picking up his second consecutive double win at

Rea was able to hold off his team-mate in Italy

Photo: KRT

Imola.

In an incident packed weekend just outside of Bologna, the Northern Irishman had to dig deep to taste victory after qualifying third on the grid. Rea gave the massive Italian crowd a display of supreme confidence coming from behind to take the chequered flag in both races despite the home fans praying for a home victory from the Aruba.IT Ducati of Davide Giugliano. The Italian rider had led the way following Superpole but he just couldn’t get the better of the flying Kawasaki.

Rea’s Kawasaki teammate and 2013 Champion, Tom Sykes qualified in second place and to demonstrate the strength of the British assault on the WSBK title this year, there were four Brits in the top five on the starting grid, as Chaz Davies and Leon Haslam sat fourth and fifth respectively on the grid.

Race Reports

Race One:

The opening race of the day was cut short after just 11 laps when David Salom crashed at Rivazza on his Team Pedercini Kawasaki, forcing the marshalls to wave the red flag and bring the riders back to the pit lane with the Spanish rider cracking a bone in his left wrist. When the race was abandoned, Sykes was leading from the impressive Giugliano, who had been the pacesetter following his start from pole before the Englishman squeezed through on lap eight.  A little further back, Chaz Davies wasn’t having the best of weekends despite powering to an almost lap record equaling time on lap six as his Ducati picked up a mechanical problem with him fighting for fourth spot, it would be a breakdown which would see the Welshman also out of race two later in the day.

The race was to be restarted and it would be a six lap sprint to the flag and it was Sykes who made the early running in part two of the opening race, leading from Rea and Giugliano who didn’t make the best of starts meant that Haslam was quickly on the back wheel of the Italian.

Rea was to slide past Sykes on the second lap and couldn’t be caught despite the Yorkshireman posting a new lap record in his attempt to get back into the lead, however there was only a half second gap between the two green machines over the finish line. Giugliano picked up an impressive third position after pulling away from Haslam who finished fourth, in fifth was current Champion Syvain Guintoli on his Pata Honda.

There was a good finish for Ayrton Badovini who came in sixth just behind the Frenchman for BMW Motorrad Italia and Leandro Mercado followed in a very respectable seventh on his Barni Racing Ducati. Further down the order the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki of Alex Lowes finished just outside the top ten in eleventh spot, with Imre Toth taking the final point in 15th

Race Two.

It was a close battle under the sun

Photo: KRT

The second race was again to go the way of Rea, who continued to leave his opponents baffled, picking up his 8th victory from 10 races so far this season in his 150th appearance on the World Superbike grid.  The number 65 Kawasaki dominated proceedings almost from the start and crossed the finish line over four seconds ahead of teammate Sykes.

Further down the chasing pack there was plenty to fight for but the effervescent Jordi Torres was to dampen the disappointment of missing out on points in the first race by stepping on the third step of the podium.

Haslam was to suffer a huge high side that saw him leave the track with three cracked ribs, dismissing any chances of adding to his Championship points tally but he remains in second position overall, with the beneficiary being Giugliano who picked up a useful fourth place finish on his Aruba.IT Ducati.

His teammate Chaz Davies in contrast suffered a second mechanical failure representing a very poor weekend for the other half of the Ducati garage.

Ayrton Badovini improved one place from the first outing in an excellent fifth place for BMW Motorad Italia. Sam Lowes nipping into the top ten in a race full of retirements and spills further down the chasing pack. Possibly most notably, Guintoli and Michael Van Der Mark were unable to bring their Pata Honda’s over the line as they crashed out in a race which saw just 13 riders complete the full race distance.

Result

Race 1:
Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team
Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team
Davide Giugliano – Aruba.it Ducati
Leon Haslam – Red Devils Roma Aprilia
Sylvain Guintoli – PATA Honda
Ayrton Badovini – BMW Italia
Leandro Mercardo – Barni Ducati
Matteo Biaocco – Althea Ducati
Michael van der Mark – PATA Honda
Michel Fabrizio – Althea Ducati

Race 2:
Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team
Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team
Jordi Torres – Aprilia Racing Team
Davide Giugliano – Aruba.it Ducati
Ayrton Badovini – BMW Italia
Matteo Biaocco – Althea Ducati
Roman Ramos – GoEleven Kawasaki
Leandro Mercado – Barni Ducati
Michel Fabrizio – Althea Ducati
Alex Lowes – Voltcom Crescent Suzuki

Rider reactions

World championship leader Jonathan Rea explained his perfect weekend: “It has been incredible this weekend and I don’t know what to say because this kind of run has never happened to me before. I am just enjoying the moment. I was honestly a little bit worried about the six lap first race because we were not really set up to be so strong in the beginning of the race but we were able to win. In race two I watched the gap behind and Arturo was giving me great signals from pitlane. When the gap got to one second I thought ‘keep going and no mistakes’.”

“We made some improvements at this round and I am very happy. KRT team-mate Tom Sykes admitted defeat over a tough weekend, “Jonathan rode a strong race in race two and we had a big gap to the guys behind. In the end I just had to accept that this was our limit today. Jonathan was really strong in some areas and could take an advantage, then I would take some back, but finally it was his day today. The good thing is we have improved from previous events, and from last year, so I think we are heading in the right direction. Still there are some minor things to change but on the whole we have addressed some of our limitations and in Donington at the next round we will keep working. To take the wins would have been better, but I am happy.”

“I’m really pleased with the podium, which on a personal level is like a win for me. Davide Guigliano explains his happiness with his success in-front of his home crowd, “After the first ‘heat’ I was already tired and the second part of the race was extremely difficult, I couldn’t have done any more. I was undecided as to whether to do race 2 at all as the first race really wore me out, but thanks to the Clinica Mobile’s help and the support of all the fans here, I was actually able to complete race 2, in fourth place. It’s been an important weekend for us, and has helped us see that we can fight for the top positions at every round. We have a high performing bike and, once I’m back to full fitness, I know we’ll be competitive. Today’s races were not at all easy and the results are thanks particularly to all of the help that the team, my family and Doctor Fabio Catani at the Policlinico di Modena have given me over these months, so I want to thank everyone who has supported me, as well as all the fans who were here watching today.”

Jordi Torres was thrilled with his podium finish in Italy:“It’s incredible! After the practice sessions on

Torres cruised to a podium
Photo: Aprilia Racing

Friday I thought that this was a difficult track with chicanes that are my weak point and a very narrow track. In Race 1 I had a few problems with the gearbox. I was struggling in downshifting and in the end I had to withdraw after running straight on. The guys did a great job fixing my bike for Race 2 and this third place goes to them. I have definitely changed my opinion on this track. Now I think it is the best one in the world! Seriously though, I’m very pleased with the improvements we made. On a new track we did a great job. I think that on tracks we know we’ll be able to confirm our progress.”

“A difficult day for me. Championship contender Haslam explains, “In Race 1 I brought home the best possible result. In Race 2 I was struggling in the braking section and I even went wide a couple of times, ending up behind VD Mark and Jordi. Then I found a good pace but just as I was making up ground I had a bad highside on turn 3. I’m hurting all over now, but thinking about the crash I think I’m lucky and I should be at 100% by Donington”.

Chaz Davies is hoping to put this tough weekend behind him ahead of his home round at Donington:
“A disastrous day for us obviously. We were in a position to be able to complete two good races here today and instead we go home with nothing. In race 1 a technical problem stopped me and so I hoped to be able to make up for that in race two. But once the second race got underway, I knew something was wrong almost right away. I was using the second bike and had to press a couple of buttons to change the setting and after that the bike seemed a bit smoother. But then I started to have other issues, my foot came off the footpeg and I realized there was a little oil leaking, so I tried to be careful and hoped it wouldn’t get worse but it wasn’t possible to finish the race. A day to forget…”

What have we learned? 

The Rea V Sykes Kawasaki battle is intriguing, with the former Champion seemingly unable to truly get to grips with the pace of his new teammate but it’s a battle that promises to continue to excite with Donington up next, there’s no doubt Sykes will go into his ‘home’ race fired up for victory.  Some may suggest that with Rea being almost 120 points ahead of his rival across the garage he has one hand on the title already, so Sykes could do with a repeat of last year’s visit to the Derbyshire circuit where he took the spoils in an all-conquering double win. Of course Sykes has the tools and the bike at his disposal to beat anyone and he needs to give Rea a timely reminder that he’s far from giving up the fight just yet.
Tweets of the weekend

Championship Standings 

1 Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team 240
2 Leon Haslam Aprilia Racing Red Devils 153
3 Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team 128
4 Chaz Davies Aruba.it Ducati Racing 123
5 Jordi Torres Aprilia Racing Red Devils 99
6 Sylvain Guintoli PATA Honda 76
7 Michael van der Mark PATA Honda 67
8 Matteo Baiocco Althea Ducati 66
9 Tati Mercado Barni Ducati 62

10 Alex Lowes Voltcom Crescent Suzuki 51

Next Race 

Round 6, Donington Park, UK, 22nd, 23rd, 24th May 2015
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