Belfast Telegraph

Rea overcomes crash and red tape drama to land Japan win

 

Jonathan Rea
Jonathan Rea

By Roy Harris

Northern Ireland's World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea emerged uninjured and victorious in a dramatic end to the tough Suzuka 8 Hour endurance race in Japan yesterday after it looked as though his late crash had dashed his Kawasaki team's hopes.

Templepatrick-based Rea (32) had been on a charge to victory after surviving late scares from a crashing backmarker and rain which hit the track in the final 30 minutes.

But Rea slid off the track after encountering an oil spill from a rival bike, triggering a red flag stoppage, after which the Yamaha team, running second, were awarded victory.

The decision was mistakenly made under a World Superbike rule which doesn't apply to the Suzuka event, requiring unhurt Rea to make it back to the paddock within a five-minute window from his fall.

He said later: "Emotionally words can't sum up today. I'm so proud of my team, my team mates and Kawasaki."

A protest was immediately submitted by aggrieved Kawasaki chiefs which was upheld on review to reinstate Rea and his team-mates, Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu.Rea also remains on course for an unprecedented fifth successive World Superbike title as he holds an 81-point lead at the season's halfway stage.

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