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Rea extends his lead as he seeks fourth title in a row

 

By Roy Harris

Triple world champion Jonathan Rea left Assen yesterday with an extended lead in his quest for a fourth successive title after finishing first in Saturday's opening World Superbike race, his eighth in a row at the Dutch venue, only to lose his unbeaten run by finishing second to team mate Tom Sykes in race two.

In ideal warm and dry conditions, Rea led all but two laps of the opening 21-lap encounter, fending off attacks from home hero Michael van der Mark to win by almost a second with Chaz Davies a further three 10ths back in third and Tom Sykes fourth.

This victory was Rea's 12th victory at the Cathedral of Sport, equalling Carl Fogarty's 'famous dozen.'

A jubilant Rea said afterwards: "I really enjoyed that race. I made two or three attempts to break the group behind me, but it didn't happen.

"I knocked back a little bit in case I was not able to make a gap in the closing laps. With about four laps left, I made a couple of strong laps and managed to make a race winning gap."

Under the reverse grid rule for yesterday's race, it was a completely different story as Sykes, from pole position, streaked away from the line to break Rea's winning streak.

Rea, starting from the third row, was into sixth half way around the first lap, but took until lap six to get into second with a brave 160mph pass on Xavi Fores.

Van der Mark went with Rea, but they could make no inroads into Sykes lead, with the Yorkshireman five and a half seconds clear of Rea at the chequered flag and the 'Flying Dutchman' a further two seconds back in third.

First and second gives Rea a 30-point lead in the championship over Chaz Davies, fifth in race two after third in race one.

Andrew Irwin scored his first World Supersport points by finishing 12th in a blistering 12-lap race.

√At Bishopscourt on Saturday, Charles Stuart won the Temple 100 trophy in the Temple Club promoted second round of the new A J Plumbing Ulster Superbike championship.

In race one, a result was declared after a red flag situation with the leaders having completed six laps, giving Stuart and his Yamaha the win by a third of a second from Gerard Kinghan, who had Thomas O'Grady less than a second behind him.

Race two again saw Stuart and Kinghan battle for the win with the Ballycastle rider getting the verdict by 0.231sec, with Alastair Kirk, who only managed a lap in race one, a second and a half behind Kinghan in third.

David Haire finished fifth in both races while William Dunlop brought the Temple Golf Club Yamaha home in sixth and seventh place finishes as he warmed up ahead of this weekend's Cookstown 100.

Antrim's Ross Patterson, the first Supersport machine home in both Superbike races, had to settle for second position in the opening 8-lap Supersport race 0.294sec behind Kore McGreevy, whose younger brother Kia was third.

However, in race two Patterson brought his Kawasaki home in first position, half a second ahead of the McGreevys, Korie ahead of Kia.

In the battle of the 'road racers', Derek McGee got the better of Dunlop with fifth and sixth in race one and fourth and sixth in race two, with Christian Elkin fourth and fifth in both races.

In the second round of the Maxxis British Motocross championship at Canada Heights yesterday, Martin Barr finished second overall in MX2 with second and third place finishes while Graeme Irwin was fifth overall in MX1 with 11th and third position finishes.

√ HONDA rider Marc Marquez overcame a grid penalty to score his sixth straight MotoGP victory at Austin, Texas last night from Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) in second and Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) third ahead of Valentino Rossi, who pressured team-mate Vinales in the early laps but couldn't find a way through.

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