Rea, Laverty in super finish after near miss
Northern Ireland riders Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty emerged from a Race Two brush of their bikes to post creditable results in yesterday’s World Superbike round at Imola in Italy.
In the heat of their battle, Rea’s Honda clipped the rear wheel of Laverty’s Aprilia three laps from the end — fortunately both riders remained upright with Rea going on to finish a brilliant fifth and Laverty sixth when the chequered flag came out.
Earlier, in Race One, Laverty took fifth and Rea ninth. Defending champion Carlos Checa sits at the top of the World Superbike standings after his double win for Ducati. Rea is sixth and Laverty eighth.
Rea had gone into Race One stiff and sore from a massive Superpole qualifying high side.
Rea said: “I was quite clear what happened — I was trying too hard on a brand new race tyre. It’s thanks to my leathers and helmet that I escaped injury. I was trigger happy on the throttle and I high sided.
“The weekend certainly finished better than it started. In the first race we flat-out picked the wrong tyre. It’s been a frustrating weekend to be honest, because our pace here last year was good enough for a win, but this year with the same pace, two or three guys at the front are going faster.
“All things considered, I’m happy to have points on the board in both races and I’m pleased with the way I rode, especially in Race Two.
“I got messed about with my rhythm in the first two laps, but got my head down and got back to the group and was able to get in front of them comfortably in the end. We have a test here tomorrow and then a two-day test at Assen to try and find the front end feeling I’ve been lacking.”
Laverty commented: “A fifth and sixth place are not bad at all but I won't pretend I wouldn't have liked to have been battling with the guys at the front.
“I got a good start in both races and in the second we made some good progress on the RSV4 but the pace of the group up front was just too fast. We need to keep working.
“These two races were useful for providing a lot of information on the bike. We'll work on that in the tests tomorrow in the hope that that it will give us a hand even for the next round at Assen in three weeks time.”
At Mondello, Ahoghill’s Luke Johnston rode to a magnificent double in the Clubman’s championship Supersport races while Brian McCormack and Derek Sheils took a win each in the non-championship open events.
Race 1: 1 Carlos Checa (Spa) Ducati 38mins 06.264secs, 2 Tom Sykes (GB) Kawasaki 38:09.470, 3 Leon Haslam (GB) BMW 38:11.857, 4 Max Biaggi (Ita) Aprilia 38:12.783, 5 Eugene Laverty Aprilia 38:30.926, 6 Marco Melandri (Ita) BMW 38:33.525, 7 Joan Lascorz (Spa) Kawasaki 38:33.648, 8 Lorenzo Zanetti (Ita) Ducati 38:34.563, 9 Jonathan Rea Honda 38:40.331, 10 Niccolo Canepa (Ita) Ducati 38:41.988, 11 Jakub Smrz (Cze) Ducati 38:43.002, 12 Maxime Berger (Fra) Ducati 38:43.521, 13 John Hopkins (USA) Suzuki 38:56.682, 14 Leandro Mercado (Arg) Kawasaki 38:59.887, 15 Ayrton Badovini (Ita) BMW 39:00.206
Race 2: 1 Carlos Checa (Spa) Ducati 37: 57.571, 2 Tom Sykes (GB) Kawasaki 37:59.506, 3 Leon Haslam (GB) BMW 38:00.540, 4 Max Biaggi (Ita) Aprilia 38:00.917, 5 Jonathan Rea Honda 38:16.496, 6 Eugene Laverty Aprilia 38:18.751, 7 Jakub Smrz (Cze) Ducati 38:18.963, 8 Leon Camier (GB) Suzuki 38:21.368, 9 Joan Lascorz (Spa) Kawasaki 38:21.790, 10 Marco Melandri (Ita) BMW 38:23.170, 11 Sylvain Guintoli (Fra) Ducati 38:23.347, 12 Maxime Berger (Fra) Ducati 38:23.575, 13 Lorenzo Zanetti (Ita) Ducati 38:28.743, 14 Chaz Davies (GB) Aprilia 38:31.408,15 Badovini (Ita) BMW 38:43.112