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Davies at the double to close gap on Rea

By Paul Lindsay

Published 04/04/2016

Top dog: Jonathan Rea still leads the World Superbike Championship after two podium finishes
Top dog: Jonathan Rea still leads the World Superbike Championship after two podium finishes

Jonathan Rea recorded a double podium during round three of the World Superbike Championship at Aragon in Spain over the weekend.

But the reigning champion saw his series lead cut marginally to 26-points following a faultless double from Welshman Chaz Davies on the factory Ducati.

Rea opted to use Friday's qualifying to try and perfect a more comfortable set-up on his Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R, but reverted to a more familiar set-up for Saturday's opening race, where he eventually overhauled team-mate Tom Sykes to take second place. Davies was a runaway winner.

Speaking afterwards Rea said pragmatically: "I am satisfied because if you cannot win you should finish second. Today we did that at a track that has been really strong for Chaz [Davies] in the past.

"In the beginning of the race I was still understanding the bike because the first time we had used our complete race set-up was in Superpole. I was learning in the early laps.

"Now we need a bit more grip and to improve things under braking for race two."

Sunday's second race was a virtual mirror image of Saturday's once it settled down, with Davies clearing off into the sunset; setting a matchless pace on the improved Ducati.

Behind him the green machines of Sykes and Rea were left to again play cat and mouse with both spending time leading the other.

Rea did look to have command with just a handful of laps remaining, but ran wide and Sykes needed no second invitation.

Rea complained of grip issues with his rear Pirelli tyre, but remained positive after taking his sixth consecutive podium from the opening six races of the 2016 season - which as previously mentioned - still leaves him with a healthy lead at the top of the championship standings.

"It was a difficult race because straight from the off we did not have so much grip in the rear and I was having to pick the bike up," explained the Ulsterman.

"When I back-shifted going into turn one with a few laps to go the rear locked and I could not stop; that was end of the chance to fight for second position."

Concluding Rea said: "Being second or third is not the issue, it is being so far from the fight for the front. There were some areas where we were struggling today. We just need more time with the new bike and it is a step-by-step process. When a tough weekend is second and third it is not so bad."

Round four of the World Superbike Championship takes place at Assen in the Netherlands, for the Prosecco DOC Dutch round on April 15/16/17.

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