| 7.1°C Belfast

Jonathan Rea hoping for more of the same to extend his title lead


Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea

Getty Images

Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea will seek to widen his 10-point advantage in the World Superbike Championship in a quick return to Motorland Aragon after a tremendous double victory at the track last week.

Round five of eight begins with free practice tomorrow morning as Rea bids to step up his pursuit of an historic sixth consecutive world crown.

The Ulsterman said: "After a couple of days of relaxing it's back into action on Friday morning. Because we have the base set-up from Sunday's races, it will not be so stressful from the first session.

"If conditions and track temperatures are the same there should not be too much changing with the bike, and the target, as always, will be to win."

The 33-year-old Templepatrick-based rider arguably exceeded expectations last weekend at a track that was expected to suit the Ducati Panigale V4s of Scott Redding and Chaz Davies. Instead, it was the Kawasaki of Rea that dominated proceedings as he took pole position, set three fastest laps, including a new lap record, two race wins and a third position.

Rea has made a slight change to his riding style this campaign, now hanging off the machine more.

He explained: "It's the first time I used elbow sliders. When the rear tyre was dropping off I was still trying to attack, entering the corners too fast. I've been working with my riding coach, Fabien Foret, to hang off the bike more, get it upright quicker and making it turn better. It's like teaching an old dog new tricks, but it works."

It was a weekend to forget for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team of Tom Sykes and Toome's Eugene Laverty.

Sykes crashed in Tissot Superpole, leaving him in his worst grid position in that scenario since 2011, while Laverty experienced a mechanical issue before Race One even started.

Neither rider scored points in Race One or the Superpole race, while Sykes was 12th and Laverty 14th in Race Two. They'll be hoping for better results this time out and that at least a good Superpole can propel them up the order.

Laverty admitted: "I didn't see the problems we encountered coming but we will stay calm, chin on tank and take a second bite at the cherry to make the most of these back-to-back races this weekend."

Belfast Telegraph