Rea stays positive as title lead is cut
The plaudits in Italy were reserved for factory Ducati rider Chaz Davies after round five of the World Superbike Championship yesterday at Imola's Autodromo Internazionale Enzo Dino Ferrari circuit.
The Welshman took his second double victory of the season in fine style, reducing the deficit at the top of the standings to just 35 points to reigning World champion Jonathan Rea.
The Ulsterman took a brace of second-placed finishes on his factory Kawasaki in his bid to become the first rider to retain the title since Carl Fogarty in 1999.
Rea and his KRT team-mate Tom Sykes rode in tandem at times in the second race.
Neither of the Kawasaki men could challenge Davies, who took lights-to-flag wins in both races by almost four seconds, proving the strength of the Aruba.it Ducati package.
Like the first race of the weekend, ZX-10R Kawasaki-mounted Sykes was just too far back at the end to challenge Rea on the second KRT machine. Strangely enough, Rea again had to overcome an electronics problem, so to lose only 10 points to Davies should be taken as a positive.
Rea, who has now scored 75 podiums in his World Superbike career, said: "Chaz had a very good first lap and broke me a little bit, but then I felt like I was managing to hold the same pace and was maybe even faster.
"I then had a huge moment on the exit of the last chicane - I ran onto the Astroturf. A few laps later, when I was in fifth gear and on full gas, my bike just cut out on the straight.
"I lost two or three seconds. The bike fired into life again, but it took me a few corners to relax. It feels like when we can't win we should finish second and we did that. There are three guys now at the top of the championship, but every dog has his day."
The sixth round takes place at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on May 14 and 15.