Belfast Telegraph

Jonathan Rea out to extend World lead in Californian sun

By Paul Lindsay

World Superbike king and current series leader Jonathan Rea is seeking his first ever victory at Laguna Seca in California this weekend during round nine of the 2016 Championship.

The Factory Kawasaki rider has a 66-point advantage at the top of the table over his KRT team-mate Tom Sykes and with a two-month summer break after race two on Sunday, Ulsterman Rea will be looking to maintain his 100% podium record in 2016 in the Californian sun.

Coming off the back of a double win at Misano last time out, which increased his current season record to seven top steps and 16 consecutive podiums, Manx-based Rea said: “I am so excited to go to Laguna because I really enjoy the fly away races.

“Last year we took two third-placed finishes on the Kawasaki, but in the past three rounds I have felt good on the bike. It’s a circuit that is technical and challenging and it should suit us.”

Rea, though, will have to be at the top of his game to outshine Chaz Davies on the Ducati, the double winner from 2015.

The proud Welshman hasn’t been on the top step since Imola at the beginning of May and will be looking to end his personal drought before the summer break, which will see the World Superbike Championship take a back seat until round 10 begins at the Lausitzring in Germany on September 17-18.

Rea, who has now held top spot in the World Superbike Championship for an amazing 40 races — just one less than record holder Troy Bayliss from the 2001 and 2002 seasons — added: “It’s a strong track for Chaz and we were close to him last year. It would be nice to increase my Championship lead, but that’s not a priority.

“There is a lot of enthusiastic support from the American side, especially for Kawasaki, so I am excited to get amongst it.”

The races are split over tomorrow and Sunday and will get under way at 10.30pm UK time.

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