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‘I got caught out’: Jonathan Rea explains costly Donington crash as Toprak Razgatlioglu takes World Superbike lead

Crash costs Ulsterman championship lead despite Superpole win

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In front: Jonathan Rea leads team-mate Alex Lowes in the Superpole race. Credit: Zac Goodwin/PA

In front: Jonathan Rea leads team-mate Alex Lowes in the Superpole race. Credit: Zac Goodwin/PA

PA

Toprak Razgatlıoglu. Credit: Zac Goodwin/PA

Toprak Razgatlıoglu. Credit: Zac Goodwin/PA

PA

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In front: Jonathan Rea leads team-mate Alex Lowes in the Superpole race. Credit: Zac Goodwin/PA

Jonathan Rea reflected on a ‘bittersweet’ day at Donington Park as the six-time World Superbike champion saw his title advantage evaporate.

The Kawasaki rider clinched his fifth win of the season in tricky conditions in the Superpole sprint race at his home round of the series, but Rea later crashed out of the lead of the final race on lap 11, gifting victory to chief rival Toprak Razgatlioglu.

The Turkish rider, who won on Saturday at the Leicestershire circuit from Rea despite starting from 13th place on the grid, is the new leader of the championship by the slender margin of two points.

Rea, though, remained upbeat at the conclusion of a dramatic weekend as he now turns his focus to Assen in the Netherlands in three weeks’ time.

“It’s been a mixed bag and I won the Superpole race, which I’m quite happy with, but it was in strange conditions and really nervous for everybody,” said Rea.

“In race two I made a small mistake behind Toprak and it let him get away a bit, but I was able to catch him with ease. I thought I’d keep my powder dry, then he made a mistake and I went to the front.

“I tried to put my head down but then I just got caught out on the bumps going up the hill at Coppice, and as soon as I tipped in the front completely washed out.”

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The 34-year-old held his hands up after the rare error, but with nine rounds still to go Rea – who re-joined the race and eventually finished in 20th position – says it’s still all to play for.

“It was my mistake, but I was a little bit more disappointed yesterday because it was almost like I had nothing for Toprak, but today I did,” he said.

“It’s bittersweet because I felt a lot more positive today for going forward with the season.

“We were able to maximise our package so we’ll look forward to Assen in a few weeks’ time and it’s still all to play for after four rounds.”

Rea led all the way in the 10-lap Superpole race after team-mate Alex Lowes crashed out of second place on lap two as he gave chase, wrapping up victory by 2.5 seconds from Tom Sykes.

Sykes’ BMW Motorrad team-mate, Michael van der Mark, held off Leon Haslam (Team HRC) to claim the last rostrum spot.

American Garrett Gerloff was also in contention in fifth on the GRT Yamaha, while Yamaha’s Razgatlioglu crossed the line in sixth after having to fight his way through the field from 13th place once again.

Following Rea’s crash in race two, Razgatlioglu completed his double by 2.2 seconds from Gerloff, with Sykes back on the podium in third. Scott Redding was fourth on the Aruba.it Ducati ahead of Van der Mark and Lowes.

Northern Ireland’s Eugene Laverty was 13th in Saturday’s race and 12th and 15th yesterday on the RC Squadra Corse BMW.

In the British Junior Supersport class, young prospect Cameron Dawson twice finished as the runner-up in two of the four races, while fellow Northern Ireland teenager James McManus was fourth in race two.

Randalstown’s Eugene McManus finished fifth in the second National Junior Superstock race yesterday ahead of Simon Reid, while Sam Laffins was fifth in race three.


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