World and British superbike champions Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam enjoyed another winning day today, with Rea extending his unbeaten run to a record breaking 10 races and Haslam winning at Brands Hatch for the first time since returning to the series three years ago.
Rea was impeccable again as he came through from ninth on the reverse grid at the new San Juan Villicum circuit in Argentina, taking the lead on lap nine of 21 and strolling home ahead of Ducati riders Xavi Fores and Marco Melandri. The result sees the Northern Irish rider break the previous nine race winning streak, held jointly by Colin Edwards and Neil Hodgson. If he can win the last two races, held in Qatar later this month, he will end the year on 570 points and break his own record of the most points in one world superbike season.
The result came despite the champ picking up a bug the night before the final race, as he explained: “It is really special to come to a new track, where everyone starts from zero, and be able to take the same kind of results. To be fast in the hot conditions and keep our tyre that was the key to the race. It was probably the hardest race win from the third row of the grid. If I went off line to pass, I could not be creative with my line choices. Everybody was pretty much on the same line so the passes had to be set up a few corners in advance. Once I settled into my rhythm I was able to clock off the lap times and pick off riders one by one. When I got clear track to Fores I tracked him down quite fast, but then there was the matter of passing him. Today has been difficult because I caught some kind of virus last night. I was ill all night from one o’clock until five this morning. It was good to have the race at 4pm because most of the day I have been sleeping in the cabin, regaining energy!”
Haslam won the British title with a steady sixth place in Saturday’s opening race at Brands Hatch but really let rip in Sunday’s opening race, held in tricky damp conditions, to win his first race at the Kent circuit since returning to the national championship with Kawasaki three seasons ago. The 35-year-old will join Rea in the factory Kawasaki world superbike squad next season, creating a formidable duo for ‘Team Green’.