Belfast Telegraph

Jonathan Rea extends World Superbikes lead despite crash in chaotic weekend

By Roy Harris

Jonathan Rea, MBE, had a tough weekend at Misano, but left the Italian circuit with an extended World Superbike Championship lead after second and third place finishes. Saturday’s spectacular race saw race leader Mark Van Der Mark crash out, the result of a rear tyre failure

Rea narrowly avoided the accident, then on the last lap new leader Chaz Davies (below) slid off with Rea, close behind, riding over the top of Welshman. Rea quickly remounted his Kawasaki to finish in third position despite a broken footrest with Tom Sykes and Alex Lowes gifted first and second positions.

On the slow down lap Rea stopped to check on injured Davies before returning to the pits and a subdued rostrum. Davies fractured a vertebrae, but was back at the track yesterday and hopes to return at the next round at Laguna Seca.

Yesterday, Sykes and Rea struggled in race two behind Xavi Forres, Jordi Torres and Melandri until firstly Forres retired and then Torres followed him into the pits, both with technical problems, leaving Melandri well in control to take his first WSB victory on a Ducati and record the 100th Italian WSB victory.

Rea moved past his team-mate into second with six laps remaining and held onto the runners-up spot despite Sykes closing in on the final two laps. Eugene Laverty had an improved weekend on the Milwaukee Aprilia, sixth in race one improving to fifth in race two after starting from the front row.

Rea said: “Race one was chaos to be honest. When Markie (Van Der Mark) went down, I went between him and his bike almost being hit by the machine.

“I fought back to catch Chas, who then crashed in front of me. I was shocked as I was left nowhere to go, but over the top of him.

“I picked the bike up to finish third. In the second race I just did not have the same feeling with the bike. I was just staying there stuck behind Tom. After the retirements I pushed past Tom into second wanting to catch Marco, but it didn’t happen.

“I had a rear tyre vibration that, after Donington and Markie yesterday, played on my mind a bit. It was a frustrating weekend, but in the grand scheme of things I’m happy.”

Elsewhere, what a weekend for the Irish at Knockhill in two scintillating BSB Supersport races, with Keith Farmer celebrating a double victory getting the better of fellow Ulsterman Andrew Irwin late on in both races with Dubliner Jack Kennedy third in race one and David Allingham, from Eglinton third in race two in which Kennedy was fourth.

Farmer said: “Delighted to win both races for the team. In the second race I tried to line up Andrew up a time or two. It still took a last corner block pass to get past him, but it was clean. We were close out of the hairpin but I got the drive to win by a tenth of a second.Two poles, two wins make it a good weekend.” In the BSB races Jake Dixon never on a Superbike podium before stunned the fans on his RAF Reserve Kawasaki with two superb wins over Luke Mossey and Shakey Byrne in race one and James Ellison and Byrne in race two.

Michael Laverty was 10th in race one improving to eighth in race two, while in the Motostar races Eugene McManus bounced back from a crash in race one to finish third in race two while Richard Kerr was second and fifth in the two races.

In his Tyco BMW return Josh Elliott finished fifth in the opening Superstock 1000cc race but did not finish race two.

Meanwhile, at Desertmartin yesterday, the home crowd got what they wanted when Buildbase Honda pair Graeme Irwin and Martin Barr took the overall victories in the Maxxis British Championship MX1 and MX2 races respectively. Irwin, from Carrickfergus, won both the MX1 races to consolidate his series lead while Barr, from Ballyclare, dominated MX2 race one before finishing second in race two to take overall victory .

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