Kawasaki riders Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea enjoyed a spectacular weekend on the race tracks as they pulled away at the top of their respective superbike championships.
At the opening round of the British Superbike Championship, Haslam was unbeaten – taking two wins to lead the series from JG Speedfit Kawasaki team-mate Luke Mossey.
Haslam’s job was made easier when his main title rival, defending champion Shane Byrne, was ruled out after crashing during Sunday morning’s warm-up session.
After romping to a five second win in the day’s first race, the 33-year-old came under severe pressure from 2015 champion Josh Brookes in the afternoon’s second 18-lap outing. Aussie rider Brookes had led the first 14 laps but had no answer to Leon, who swooped past and pulled away to win by almost three seconds.
Despite being Leon’s local track, Donington Park has not always been favourable to him, so he was clearly delighted with his brace of wins. He said: “This is my third ever win at the track. I won back in2006, which was also the last time I won here. To win at my home round at Donington, and to get a 1-2 for the team, it couldn’t have gone any better. Thanks to all the boys for the effort.”
Over in Spain, Jonathan Rea extended his lead in the World Superbike Championship despite losing his 100% record to Ducati’s Chaz Davies at Aragon.
Having won the first four races of the season, Rea went to Spain with a 30 point lead in the championship but expected a fightback from Davies, who has been a two time double winner at the Aragon circuit in the past three years.
The pair enjoyed a great battle for the lead in Saturday’s race, which ended in favour of Rea when Davies crashed out a few laps from the end. Davies finally ended Rea’s winning streak in Sunday’s 18-lap race, but with Jonathan finishing a close second, he leaves Spain with a 50 point lead with three of the 13 rounds gone.
Speaking after the race, Rea, said: “I got to the front quite early but I could not make a break because it was so windy on the straight that the group stayed together. When Chaz came past he had a little bit more pace and I upped my own pace to try and go with him. He made a few mistakes but none that meant I could really go through clean on him and make it stick. On the last lap I just fought – fought for a win. I tried in a few places but it did not work out in the end. We can’t complain too much because on one side of the circuit we were really strong.
“Congratulations to Chaz because to come back from a big crash yesterday and win today was really impressive. I am really happy with the way I rode today and I got 45 points this weekend, even though I was not feeling my best. But the bike was working really well so I am looking forward to rolling to Assen now.”
Both Carole Nash ambassadors are back in action later this month. Leon will be looking to extend his championship lead at Brands Hatch in two weeks time, while Jonathan and the world superbike circus head to Assen, in the Netherlands, on the weekend of 29-30 April.
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