Belfast Telegraph

Jonathan Rea can break Carl Fogarty's World Superbike record at 'home' circuit

 

By Roy Harris

Fresh off the back of his hugely popular lap of honour at the Vauxhall International North West 200 on Saturday where he was greeted enthusiastically by the massive crowd of spectators, it is back to the bread and butter of chasing points in his quest for a fourth successive world championship title for Jonathan Rea this weekend.

After sensational back-to-back wins at Imola last time out, Rea lines up for his 'home' World Superbike Championship round at Donington Park with a 47-point lead over his nearest challenger Chas Davies.

Records are something of a Rea speciality these days and racing in front of a host of Northern Irish fans, who will make the short journey across the Irish Sea, he can become the rider with the most wins ever in WSB if he can win either of the two races, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

Following his two wins in Italy Rea is tied on 59 victories with the legendary five-time WSB champion Carl Fogarty, also at the North West last weekend and himself a master at the East Midlands track winning his first WSB race there in 1992.

"I will have a lot of travelling support at Donington, the round closest to home," Rea explained.

"It is nice to come here on the back of a strong weekend at Imola, but we will have to work hard together as a team to make sure we can fight for victory. Donington is a circuit of two halves, fast flowing sections and stop and go sectors making it difficult to set up the perfect bike.

"This is the first opportunity I have had to surpass Carl's all-time WSB win record, so let's hope those supporters can lift me to a win and a very special record."

The 31-year old, who is set to launch his autobiography in October later this year, knows it will not be easy with his team-mate at Kawasaki Racing, Tom Sykes, a specialist around Donington having won nine WSB races on the bounce until Rea stopped that sequence by winning race two last year.

Sykes commented: "Donington is a special place for me and I've done well there up until Jonathan beat me last year. In general, we are in good shape for Donington and I can't wait to get back out on track there tomorrow."

Other potential challengers include five Ducatis in the hands of Chas Davies, Marco Melandri, Xavi Fores, Michael Reuben Rinaldi and wild card test rider Michelle Pirro, the three Yamaha's of Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark and test rider Niccolo Canepa plus three local wild cards, Leon Haslam (Puccetti Kawasaki), Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) and Gino Rea (OMG Suzuki).

Additionally, continuing on the comeback trail from his huge crash in Thailand in which he suffered pelvic injuries Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) makes his second appearance since the accident, looking to move the RSV4 forward and challenging for a top five position.

The Toomebridge man said: "For sure Imola was a difficult weekend for me, but we have had a week to recover and at Donington the aim is to get back on the front runner's pace again at a circuit that should suit the Milwaukee Aprilia."

Laverty's last podium here was in race two back in 2013.

At Donington the second round of the British Talent Cup will see Scott Swann, Sam Laffins, Rhys Irwin and Johnny Campbell in action in this showcase series, all riding identical Honda NSF 250's.

Belfast Telegraph

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