Sizzling Rea burns up Silverstone
It was a terrific day for local World Superbike competitors at Silverstone yesterday where Jonathan Rea won his first race in a year and-a-half beating Eugene Laverty by three seconds in race one then, in race two, Laverty finished in third with Rea fourth.
A delayed start to race one saw Laverty on his factory Aprilia make the most of his first ever pole position by heading the pack for the opening three laps with Rea close behind.
Dark clouds produced light rain on some parts of the track on lap six with all riders on slick tyres; all deciding to race on with conditions the same for everyone.
Rea hit the front on a slow lap seven and as the field tip-toed around on lap eight the Pata Honda rider started to stretch a gap with an impressive controlled display.
In the variable conditions Rea was soon over five seconds ahead of Loris Baz with Laverty starting to make progress through the field as the track dried and was the fastest man on track.
In the closing laps he was involved in a frantic scrap with Baz, team-mate Sylvain Guintoli and Leon Camier for the runner-up spot getting the better of both when the chequered flag was unfurled.
After a frustrating first half of the season Rea was unflappable, seemingly oblivious to the conditions, as when the rest backed off he never put a wheel wrong and circulated as if on rails in total command to take that elusive first win of the season.
A happy smiling Rea said, "It is awesome to get that first win. It was probably the strongest win I've ever had. I had to be sensible and rode to the grip I was experiencing. I was the donkey in those conditions showing the rest how slippery it was, but I kept calm to take a great win for the team."
Race two again started dry with Laverty again mixing it at the front with Baz, Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies at the front with Rea way back in eighth.
A seven rider freight train was soon reduced to four with Baz, Camier, Jacques Cluzel and Davies forging ahead with Laverty dropping to sixth.
Davies was forced out on lap 15 with Laverty, having regrouped in drying conditions dicing with Baz and Cluzel for the win with Rea now back into fourth.
It all came to an abrupt halt on the penultimate lap in heavy rain at Stowe Corner where Cluzel slid off and Leon Haslam high sided heavily, luckily without serious injury, bringing the red flags out.
Baz was declared the winner half a second ahead of Cluzel followed by Laverty and Rea.
Laverty's reacted to his second and third positions by saying: "They didn't come easy. I dropped back not wanting to end up on my backside like I did in Moscow. As it dried I speeded up, but there was simply no catching Johnny in that first race. I'm happy with two podiums."
With the rumour mill in full swing about Rea's plans for 2014, when asked he commented: "Honestly, I'm talking to teams in both the MotoGP and WSB paddocks. In an ideal world I would like to ride Dani Pedrosa's machine.
"My management team are weighing up all options for next season."