Superbikes: Rea and Laverty can’t write Donington fairytale
There was little to shout about for local men Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty at yesterday's World Superbike round at Donington Park in Leicestershire.
Rea took a brace of top six finishes (fifth and sixth) on his Castrol Honda, and although it's not the Ballyclare man's favourite circuit, he was bitterly disappointed with his first home appearance of the year.
“I gave it absolutely everything but we can't allow Checa to run away with it they way he is doing,” said Rea.
“We were only on par today, but we are going into a run of circuits where we know we can do well.
“If we are fifth and sixth after that then we have something to worry about.
“I'm just happy to come away with no injuries as I'm still healing after the crashes in Australia.”
Yamaha rookie Eugene Laverty, who made an impressive World Superbike debut in Australia just four weeks ago, was brought down to earth with a bump after two crashes that returned just two points for his weekend's efforts.
The 24-year-old had a high speed crash during Saturday's Superpole session at Craner Curves, followed by a race one get-off at Coppice on lap four.
The battered and bruised Toomebridge lad bravely came out for race two but a tyre problem and a serious lack of confidence saw him scrape home in 14th place.
Laverty said: “That's the worst weekend of racing I've had in my career to date.
“I'm bitterly disappointed but I have to remember I am a rookie in this class. I'm also sore but we need to look forward now to the next race at Assen where I believe we can get on the podium.”
Former Grand Prix riders Marco Melandri (Yamaha) and Carlos Checa (Ducati) shared the victory spoils in front of a 40,000 strong audience.
After taking the opening race victory, Melandri, who was also recording his debut WSB win, then followed Checa home in race two with Brit Leon Camier third on the Alitalia Aprilia.
Czech rider Jakub Smrz (Effenbert Ducati) missed out on a debut win in race one after leading for 15 of the allocated 23 laps, eventually finishing second ahead of race two winner Carlos Checa.
Hometown favourite Leon Haslam had two impressive fourth places on the factory BMW, getting mugged for a podium in race one at the final turn.
Dublin's Jack Kennedy was another disappointed Irishman after being forced to start from the back of the World Supersport grid.
The wildcard rider's Yamaha cut out on the sighting lap, then after battling back into points' contention — he was forced to retire when his rear tyre destroyed itself.
The race was won by Luca Scassa from british riders Chaz Davies and Gino Rea.
The next round takes place in three week's time at Assen in the Netherlands on April 15/16/17.