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'I went all in': Jonathan Rea delighted as Teruel win brings sixth title closer

 

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First again: Jonathan Rea joins his Kawasaki team in celebration of yesterday’s win at Aragon

First again: Jonathan Rea joins his Kawasaki team in celebration of yesterday’s win at Aragon

Glenn Irwin

Glenn Irwin

First again: Jonathan Rea joins his Kawasaki team in celebration of yesterday’s win at Aragon

What a five-time World champion's performance yesterday by Jonathan Rea in the second World Superbike race of the weekend at Aragon in Spain as he battled the Ducatis of Scott Redding and Michael Rinaldi to clinch victory (his 96th WSBK win) to extend his championship lead over Redding to 36 points with nine races remaining.

It topped a good weekend for Templepatrick-based rider Rea finishing second, second and first, as Redding crashed out of race one, won race two and a poor tyre choice saw him a distant third in the final outing yesterday.

A delighted Rea commented after yesterday's races: "I'm happy with that. In Superpole we got off to a good start, but Scott came past quite early and that disturbed my rhythm a bit.

"In race two I knew instead of managing the race I had to go straight at it and then I had a huge 'moment.' I went all in, full in in that race.

"You have to ride 100%, but not make any mistakes. I was able to carry more corner speed and with the stopping performance of the Ninja ZX-10RR - also we kept the tyre until the end - I felt we had the better package."

Rinaldi was the star of Saturday's race one on his independent Ducati taking his first WSBK race win comfortably by almost six seconds from Rea, as Redding lost the front at turn seven putting a dent in his championship aspirations.

Toome's Eugene Laverty had arguably his best ride of the season into eighth position, two ahead of his BMW team mate Tom Sykes.

The Superpole 10-lap race was a titanic bar-banging battle between Rea and Redding with the Ducati man fighting back from his crash to become the first man to beat Rea in a Superpole race in 2020, his winning margin 0.970 seconds with Rinaldi again on the podium.

Yesterday's 18-lap race was stunning, with Rea, Redding and Rinaldi scrapping for every inch of the track in the first seven laps.

Tyres were crucial in the race and Redding was first to suffer, dropping almost a second off the pace from lap eight leaving Rea and Rinaldi in an incredible battle for the win.

This was on the limit stuff with Rea riding the wheels off his Kawasaki and out of the saddle more than once as he tried to make a pass on the Ducati until three laps from the end when he nipped inside Rinaldi at Turn 6 going on to win by 1.2 seconds with an unhappy Redding a further four seconds back in third.

Three fourth place finishes were enough for Glenn Irwin to extend his British Superbike Championship lead to 35-points on his Honda after round three of the series at Silverstone over the weekend.

Kyle Ryde took a superb double on his Buildbase Suzuki, the seventh winner out of nine races this season after Tarran Mackenzie had won the opener on Saturday.

Carrickfergus rider Irwin said: "I'm happy with that. Coming into this round we knew Suzuki and Yamaha would be strong here and that is how it panned out.

"We were consistent and after using too much rear tyre early in race one on Saturday, the Honda boys made great changes and I got my brain sorted ahead of races two and three. The main aim is to score better points than your rivals if you cannot win the races."

His brother Andrew was fifth in Saturday's race, taking his Honda to two ninths yesterday after running wide a few times.

Fermanagh's Yorkshire-based Lee Johnston had a superb second position behind 18-year old Rory Skinner in Saturday's Supersport race and was on course for another podium finish in yesterdays' race when the Ashcourt Yamaha developed a technical problem one lap from the chequered flag, forcing his retirement.

Skinner also won this race to remain unbeaten in the series while Scott Swann suffered lower leg injuries after a three-bike incident.

Carrick's Wee Wizard Alastair Seeley won Saturday's GP2 race and finished third in yesterday's race.

Sixteen-year old Randalstown schoolboy James McManus, in only his second season of racing, finished seventh in the opening British Junior Supersport race, but upped his game in race two with a superb second position just 0.050 of a second behind his Affinity Sports Academy Kawasaki team mate Owen Jenner.

Cameron Dawson finished second in Saturday's race, but dropped to ninth in his second outing.

Rhys Irwin won the Superstock 600cc race in which James McManus's elder brother Eugene finished sixth.

Adam McLean, with Friday and Saturday's Cookstown 100 road race on his mind, finished 13th while Sam Laffins, Simon Reid and Caolan Irwin were all non-finishers.

Dubliner Derek Sheils was crowned King of Kirkistown on Saturday during the first short circuit meeting of 2020, organised by Belfast and District Club under strict Covid-19 regulations.

Sheils powered his BMW to a narrow victory in the first 9-lap Superbike race with Michael Dunlop less than half a second back and Jason Lynn a further 1.364 secs back in third.

In the second outing, red flagged after the leaders had completed six laps, Lynn on the Walter Bell Suzuki was declared the winner by 0.409 secs ahead of the Roadhouse Macau BMW of Sheils with the MD Racing Suzuki of Dunlop two and a half seconds back in third.

Dunlop was a double winner of the two Prince of Kirkistown Supersport races on his Yamaha with victory over Joseph Loughlin by four seconds in race one in which the Triumph 675cc of Andrew Murphy was third, seven seconds behind Loughlin.

The second outing had to be restarted twice, but again Dunlop was the master, over two seconds clear of Loughlin with Murphy again third.

Belfast Telegraph