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Jonathan Rea dedicates first Estoril victory to family of Jason Dupasquier after death of Moto3 rider


Pack leader: Jonathan Rea on his way to victory at Estoril

Pack leader: Jonathan Rea on his way to victory at Estoril

Eugene Laverty. Credit: Mirco Lazzari gp

Eugene Laverty. Credit: Mirco Lazzari gp

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Pack leader: Jonathan Rea on his way to victory at Estoril

Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Rea joined the motorcycle racing family in MotoGP and World Superbikes in paying tribute to 19-year-old Jason Dupasquier yesterday after the young Swiss rider sadly succumbed to injuries received in a Moto3 qualifying incident during the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello on Saturday.

Dupasquier, in his second season in Moto3, was involved in a multi-rider incident and despite immediate trackside attention before being transferred to hospital by medical helicopter, he died of his injuries on Sunday morning.

Six-time World champion Rea said after winning his final race of the weekend at Estoril: “Of course I was riding that last lap with Jason on my mind. Motorcycle sport can be so beautiful, but also so tough. I’m sending lots of strength to his family, team and his friends.”

Chas Davies, second to Rea in the final race at Estoril, said: “Results are almost irrelevant compared to the tragedy at Mugello.”

A sensational weekend at Estoril saw Kawasaki rider Rea take two wins and a third-place to extend his championship advantage to 35 points over Toprak Razgatlioglu after the opening two rounds of the championship.

It was drama, excitement and tension all the way with the first feature race on Saturday an intense three-way battle with Rea eventually having to settle for third position behind winner Redding and second place man Razgatlioglu with less than a second separating them after 21-laps of frantic action.

Rea said afterwards: “That was a hard shift. I was terrible here last year, so to claim third position in race one, I’m delighted. You know this is a world championship with some of the most talented riders in the world and I can’t win all the time. If I get beat, I get beat and try to learn from it.”

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Rea bounced back yesterday morning in the 10-lap Superpole race, gambling on the standard SC0 rear tyre as the majority of the field opted for the softer SCX version.

An early four-way dice with Redding, Razgatlioglu and Michael Rinaldi saw all four take turns at the front before the Templepatrick rider managed to make a break as the Redding started to struggle for grip, easing to his first win at the Estoril circuit.

Toome’s Eugene Laverty finished a disappointing 18th in race one on the RC Squadra Corse BMW, but upped his performance in the Superpole race with a fine eighth position, three quarters of a second behind the factory BMW of Tom Sykes to score his first points of the season.

The final feature race of the weekend saw Rea avoid chaos around him to take his 103rd World Superbike victory.

Razgatlioglu suffered a long lap penalty for a ‘jump start,’ Redding led off the start and then Rinaldi ran Rea wide at Turn 4 allowing Gerloff into third.

The American then lost control of his Yamaha, making contact with Rinaldi, forcing both out of the race.

Rea closed in on the Ducati with the Kawasaki rider on the SCO tyre and Redding opting for the SCX he won race one on.

Lap 14 was the turning point as Rea briefly got ahead at Turn One before Redding cut back to stay ahead, then running wide at Turn Three allowing Rea back ahead and, then at Turn Four, Redding lost the front-end, crashing into the gravel before remounting to finish 14th.

Chas Davies closed the gap to Rea in the closing stages but was almost three seconds back at the chequered flag with Razgatlioglu recovering from his penalty to finish third.

Laverty again had a terrific ride to finish ninth, a second and a half behind Sykes in eighth to complete a satisfactory weekend.

Misano is next for the Italian round from June 11-13.

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