Belfast Telegraph

Jonathan Rea not distracted by early lead in title race

By Paul Lindsay

Jonathan Rea has won three of the opening four races in this year's World Superbike championship aboard the Kawasaki Racing Team's factory ZX10R and the Ulsterman will be looking to keep the run going this weekend as the global series returns to Europe.

The Motorland Aragon circuit is south-west of Barcelona in Spain, a venue where Rea's KRT squad dominated last year, taking top step with Tom Sykes and Loris Baz following in second.

Rea stood on the podium himself last season at Aragon in race one with Honda, but this time he will be looking to increase his 10-point championship lead and although he wouldn't openly admit it, the Manx-based star will have one eye on yet another weekend double in Kawasaki livery.

The 28-year-old said: "I left Thailand with such a good feeling and I have been speaking with my guys about the plan for this weekend.

"We need to start at zero again and not get carried away, as it is going to be super-tough.

"We are back in Europe where everybody has a lot of data, so it should be much, much more competitive."

With the circuit layout having been changed for round three this weekend - to the faster version used by the MotoGP championship - we can expect to see lap times come down by six to eight seconds for World Superbike teams at Aragon.

Rea said of the changes: "The final corner at Motorland has been changed from the one we used in 2014.

"I enjoyed the previous one, but I also like faster corners and the new layout makes the lap more exciting, simply because it is faster."

Five thousand miles away in Texas, it will be a slightly different story this weekend for Northern Ireland's newest MotoGP star, Eugene Laverty, during round two at the Circuit of the Americas.

The gigantic facility boasts the longest straight on the MotoGP World Championship calendar at 1.2km, which culminates with a breathtaking climb into a blind first turn - something that will add to the learning process of our MotoGP rookie.

Laverty will no doubt have points and prizes on his mind, but his Aspar team boss Jorge Martinez has a bigger problem to deal with as he looks to replace the lost €1.8m title sponsorship deal.

Belfast Telegraph


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