It's rough and tumble for Jonathan Rea but star's back on form at Donington
World Superbike Championship leader Jonathan Rea bounced back from three crashes at Donington Park during the sixth round of the series to win yesterday's second 23-lap race in style, end team-mate Tom Sykes nine wins in a row record at the East Midlands circuit and give Kawasaki their 100th WSB victory.
Rea had a small crash in free practice on Friday and then in Saturday's first race he had a 130mph crash at the bottom of Craner Curves when his Kawasaki appeared to have a rear tyre problem, or as Rea put it: "A sniper in the crowd seemed to shoot the bike from under me."
Rea was running in second position behind Sykes when the crash happened with three laps remaining and he was lucky to escape uninjured, although his championship lead was reduced to 50 points.
An overnight team rebuild was followed by another crash at the Esses during morning warm-up when he suffered a high-side.
Starting the second race from 10th on the grid Rea rode the lap of his life to take the lead as the field went into Redgate on lap two, avoiding the argy-bargy amongst a gaggle of riders at Goddards on lap one. He was never again headed despite Sykes coming through from ninth to close within a second, but the Isle of Man resident had things under control and in the final two laps stretched the gap to a second and a half as he performed a stand up wheelie to celebrate an important victory.
Rea, now leading the championship by 55 points from Sykes said: "That was incredible, especially after Saturday, which was out of my control. I was frustrated because I got penalised by no fault of my own and scoring no points and then penalised again with my grid position.
"I can't remember the last time I was on the fourth row. I knew I had to make a good start and I had a blinding first lap - it shows what I can do when I try.
"I did all my work in the early laps, got away and controlled the race.
"It was tremendous to give Kawasaki their 100th victory and win for all my fans who made the trip over from Northern Ireland. I dedicate that win to Nicky Hayden."
For Eugene Laverty it was a frustrating weekend, dropping from an early fifth position in race one to finish 13th and then crashing out of yesterday's race at Coppice on the fourth lap, with the team complaining of lack of rear tyre grip all weekend.
Meanwhile, first practice for the Isle of Man TT races on Saturday evening was cancelled due to mist on the lower parts of the circuit, which meant the Air-Med helicopters could not take off.
So the Solo and Sidecar Newcomers speed-controlled lap will take place this evening from 6.20pm, ahead of the first official qualifying sessions for Superbike, Supersport, Superstock machines followed by the Sidecars.
Michael Dunlop - the outright lap record holder - will be riding for the first time on the Bennetts Suzuki with William Dunlop, Ian Hutchinson, Bruce Anstey and Guy Martin on the new Honda Racing Fireblade amongst those keen to get a few laps in and re-acquaint themselves with the daunting 37-mile circuit.