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Superb 90th World Superbikes victory doesn't mask the disappointment for Rea as rival Redding pulls clear


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Difficult day: Jonathan Rea keeps focus at Circuito de Jerez

Difficult day: Jonathan Rea keeps focus at Circuito de Jerez

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Difficult day: Jonathan Rea keeps focus at Circuito de Jerez

It wasn't the weekend Jonathan Rea was hoping for even though he posted his 90th victory in World Superbikes under the scorching temperatures of Jerez yesterday.

Reigning five-time world champion Rea finished second, first and sixth in the three races over two days in southern Spain as his main rival, Scott Redding, went 1-2-1 to take a 24-point lead in the championship ahead of the third round in Portimao, Portugal at the weekend.

Rea's success and landmark win came in the Superpole sprint race yesterday.

In Saturday's opening 20-lap event, the first WSBK race in five months due to the Covid-19 lockdown, Rea made a blistering start from the front row to lead the way for the first 13 laps before Redding made a block pass on Rea at the Hairpin.

Redding said later: "Jonathan was going a little bit wide into the turn and I thought I was close enough to go inside but, when he braked, he braked really, really hard and I was on the limit of the tyre, trying to stop, thinking it was impossible.

"However, I managed to stay on my line and did not go across him."

Rea was left to fend off Toprak Razgatlioglu, Chaz Davies, and Loris Baz to finish second, 1.1sec behind reigning British Superbike champion Redding's Ducati.

Toomebridge's Eugene Laverty was the final point scorer in 15th position, the only BMW to finish after Tom Sykes was not classified after machine problems.

The 10-lap Superpole race yesterday morning saw Rea get his revenge, making a superb start from third on the grid to take a lights-to-flag victory for his 90th World Superbike race win, half a second ahead of Redding with Michael van der Mark third.

Sykes bounced back from his race one issues to get the BMW home in sixth with Laverty back in 13th position.

Rea struck early rear tyre trouble in the final 20-lap race despite leading the opening lap from pole position. However, Redding swept inside Rea into Turn 1 on lap two and never looked back with Rea starting to fall back through the leading group to be eventually passed by Davies, Razgatlioglu, independent rider Michael Rinaldi and his Kawasaki team mate Lowes to finish sixth, some 12-and-a-half seconds behind Redding, who made it a double winning weekend to finish on the podium in the first six races of the season.

Templepatrick-based Rea said afterwards: "I'm so disappointed for myself and the team. I had nothing for the guys today. I just didn't have it from the rear tyre.

"We used the development tyre we used in the Superpole race with minimal set-up changes, but I knew I was hung out to dry from Turn Three on lap two when the bike went sideways and was not pushing the tyre in going forward. This circuit is the one I feared most, especially in the high temperatures, so it's not a bad outcome."

After another disappointing race for Laverty, who retired in the fifth lap with tyre problems, while Sykes finished in 11th.

Eugene McGlinchey's World Supersport 300 weekend saw the Aghadowey rider just fail to qualify for the two races in a highly competitive field, finishing seventh in the Last Chance 10-lap race, despite setting the second fastest lap, a mere 0.220sec behind the last qualifying sixth place finisher.

Belfast Telegraph