William Dunlop: Jonathan Rea dedicates Superbikes double triumph to Dunlop
Jonathan Rea completed his second World Superbike double in a row at Misano yesterday and immediately dedicated the win to the late William Dunlop, who lost his life in a racing accident during Skerries 100 practice on Saturday.
Rea said: "I wanted to win for William Dunlop. I just cannot imagine what his family are going through at this time."
A visibly emotional Rea didn't celebrate on the podium, nor did he join in the mandatory celebratory champagne spraying.
Rea now has a championship lead of 92 points over nearest rival Chas Davies as the series now takes a nine-week break before the next round at Portimao in Portugal.
Rea controlled Saturday's opener, taking the hole shot from second on the grid and leading the 21-lap race from start to finish winning by 2.791 seconds from Chas Davies, who got the better of Eugene Laverty in the closing stages when the Milwaukee Aprilia of the Toomebridge rider suffered a sensor problem, losing him rear grip and forcing him to run wide allowing the Ducati of Davies through.
Race two was something special with Rea starting from ninth position in the reverse grid format.
From the off he was sixth halfway around the first lap and by the fifth circuit he was into third behind Michael Van Den Mark and Marco Melandri and from that point to the finish the trio were engaged in a dog fight with VDM faster in the first half of the lap with Rea faster in the second half, and the Italian hanging on in third.
It all boiled down to the final three laps when Rea challenged for the lead going through the first chicane, the Pata Yamaha and KRT Kawasaki side by side Rea just edging into the lead. Rea clung on over the final two laps to win by a third of a second from the Dutchman with Melandri a further third of a second back in the final rostrum position.
Davies was almost two seconds back in fourth with Laverty never getting into the battle from his third row starting position and finishing eighth.
Rea commented afterwards: "That was a super-hard race. I emptied the tank in that one.
"I woke up this morning with a stiff neck and it is thanks to the physio that I was able to get through the race.
"The bikes are so evenly matched now it is hard to make a pass and make it stick. I spent a lot of tyre and energy coming through the traffic.
"In the end Mickey ran a little bit deep into the last corner and I was able to out-brake him into turn one."
Meanwhile, Eugene Laverty said: "After a good race one despite the sensor problem race two was very strange.
"I just had no rear grip from the start. It felt like the rear was cold and would not stop spinning.
"Overall it was a good weekend to back up the Laguna performance."
Rea now heads to Japan where he joins Kawasaki team-mates Leon Haslam and Kazuma Watanabe for the prestigious Suzuka eight-hour race.