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Rea ends Ducati's Aragon dominance in fine style to pull 10 clear at World Superbike summit


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Jonathan Rea was in fine form.

Jonathan Rea was in fine form.

Jonathan Rea was in fine form.

Jonathan Rea was at his scintillating best during the fourth round of the World Superbike Championship at Aragon over the weekend.

After finishing third in the opening race on Saturday - his 150th start for Kawasaki - the Ulsterman fought back with two strong wins in the Superpole and second feature races yesterday to extend his Championship lead to 10 points over Scott Redding, who won the first race, finished second in Superpole and came fourth in the final outing.

Rea really showed his class yesterday with a comprehensive win in the 10-lap Superpole race and then, with a seemingly unbeatable lead in race two, an uncharacteristic mistake on the 13th lap of 17 when he went wide on the final turn almost cost him the win.

Sheer determination by the Templepatrick rider saw him get back in front of Chaz Davies to re-establish a race-winning lead over the last two laps.

Chasing his sixth consecutive World Championship, the two wins will be a real confidence boost for Rea and his Kawasaki team as the series stays at Aragon for round five, which will get under way on Friday.

"That was incredible, I didn't expect it," said Rea after his second race win.

"We kept the bike the same as yesterday other than using the harder compound front tyre which seemed to work that little bit better. I knew Chaz was coming, coming and coming, then late on I had no engine braking trying to go down a gear into the last turn and I thought, 'I'm going to go down'.

"When Chaz got past, I knew I had to fight straight past again. I put my head down and, with a little bit extra, I fended the Ducati off and got the second win.

"It's all thanks to the team, they gave me a terrific bike and we definitely found something in that race. I'm looking forward to a few days of rest now before getting back at it on Friday morning."

The opening race saw Rea make probably his worst start of the year, having to fight his way through to lead after two laps before Redding passed his Championship rival.

The pair then locked in battle, the Ducati's straight-line speed helping keep Redding ahead. Continuing to pressurise Redding, a slight mistake by Rea when he ran wide on lap 14 allowed the Ducati to escape and the fast-closing Davies to pass the Ulsterman into second in the closing stages.

Rea won his fourth Superpole race of the season, coming home a quarter of a second ahead of Redding after passing early leader Loris Baz two corners into the race.

Meanwhile, Eugene Laverty had a nightmare first race. He explained: "From a poor start position, I had a braking problem on the sighting lap and had to jump off the BMW.

"I managed to get it back to the grid and the guys worked fantastically to repair it just in time for the race start.

"Unfortunately, I got a ride-through penalty because we were working on the bike after the three-minute race start mark. Then Christophe Ponsson had a massive crash right in front of me and I had to ride through the gravel to avoid him and finished 16th. So, everything that could go wrong did."

Ulsterman Laverty was 16th again in the Superpole race and 14th in race two in what was a poor weekend for the BMW team with team-mate Tom Sykes retiring in race one, crashing out of Superpole and finishing 12th in race two.

Belfast Telegraph