Belfast Telegraph

Jonathan Rea delighted to power further ahead in defence of his World title

By Paul Lindsay

Reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea extended his lead in this year's standings to 56 points after taking third and second-place finishes during round seven at Donington Park over the weekend.

Riding the factory Kawasaki ZX-10R, Rea was openly frustrated following his third place in Saturday's race, after being dogged with gearbox problems.

In yesterday's second race, Rea was rejuvenated and challenged KRT team-mate Tom Sykes for the victory, but Sykes had too much for the Ulsterman in the closing stages and made it eight wins from eight starts at Donington Park, since 2003.

Sykes moves up to second place in the standings behind Rea with his faultless 50-point haul at round seven, which completed the opening half of the 13-round season.

Welshman Chaz Davies was Rea's closest challenger coming into the Donington Park round, but only collected 16 points for his weekend's effort with third place in race two, having crashed out of the opening encounter on Saturday.

Pragmatic as always, Ballyclare ace Rea said after race two: "Just like Saturday, I got another neutral going into the final hairpin corner, just as I had made my pass, so I was a bit frustrated.

"At the end of the race I did not have much left for Tom. To be so close to him at a circuit that he is so strong at is really good, because he is riding really well at the minute.

"I am happy with that and more than happy to come here and secure a big margin in my championship lead as well."

Possibly showing a little bit of disappointment at not being able to add to his five wins to date this season, Rea added: "The championship is the priority, but it would have been really nice to have capped it off with a win in race two.

"My bike was feeling really good but near the end I just suffered a little bit with arm pump in my right arm."

Meanwhile, this year's Isle of Man TT Races got under way with the opening practice sessions on Saturday night for newcomers and Supersport competitors.

And some of the leading names are already making an early charge.

Bradford racer Dean Harrison topped the Supersport leaderboard. He clocked 124.218mph (18:13.467) on his sixth and final lap of the session while Ivan Lintin set the pace in the Lightweight class after posting a lap of 116.773mph.

Danny Webb was out on the Lightweight KMR Kawasaki Supertwin, prepared by Ryan Farquhar's loyal crew, as the team boss continues to recover in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital after suffering serious injuries following a crash at the North West 200.

Four riders came off on Saturday - William Dunlop at Sarah's Cottage, Forrest Dunn at the Water Works, Ben Rea at Lambfell and Seamus Elliott at Hailwood Heights - but all were reported to be uninjured.

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