Jonathan Rea extended his lead in the 2018 Superbike World Championship to a whopping 92 points over Chaz Davies with another double win at Misano this weekend.
It was business as usual in Saturday’s 21 lap race as the Northern Irishman led from pole position to chequered flag, with Davies getting the better of Eugene Laverty in the closing stages of the race to take the second step of the podium.
Sunday’s reverse grid race proved more challenging for Rea, who was made to work hard for his 62ndvictory in the class. Working through the pack from ninth on the starting grid, the Carole Nash backed racer had to pick off his rivals and had a strong battle with Davies, but inevitably he hit the front with three laps to go and was able to hold his lead over Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark and Ducati rider Marco Melandri, with Davies coming home fourth.
“We had good pace all weekend and the idea was to try and make a holeshot and then set my rhythm,” said Rea. “I got a good start and I was able to put my bike in a good position in turn one and then make my rhythm from there. It was kind of a textbook race and in the first three laps with the bigger profile tyres, especially the rear tyre, it just kind of takes a few laps to find its rhythm. Once I found that I was able to increase the gap lap-after-lap. That made the last seven laps more stress free. My bike was quite balanced all the way through and I did not feel I was riding over the limit at all.”
With world superbikes now taking a two month summer vacation, Rea will switch his attention to the prestigious Suzuka eight hour race that’s taking place in Japan later this month.
Rea’s team-mate for the classic endurance race is fellow Carole Nash sponsored rider Leon Haslam, who took victory in the British Superbike race at Knockhill in Scotland yesterday to extend his championship lead. Haslam had finished second to Jake Dixon in race one, with Danny Buchan making it a Kawasaki 1-2-3. The same trio filled the podium in race two, with Haslam getting the better of Dixon to extend his points advantage to 74 over the second placed Dixon. Significantly, Haslam has already built up a 20 point cushion in podium credits over Dixon, which will come into play over the title deciding final three rounds.
“We had some good battles and I’m happy to get the win after second in the first race,” said Haslam. “I can go to Japan really happy. We’ve extended our lead in the championship and I’m looking forward to the next British superbike race in Brands Hatch.”
After the race, the Derbyshire based star stayed in his racing leathers and jumped straight on a taxi bike to take him to Edinburgh airport, where he was flying out to Japan for a test at Suzuka, before returning to the UK for the next British superbike race, in two weeks’ time.