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WORLD SUPERBIKES

Rea doubles up at Misano

Race One

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had his Superpole snatched away from him at the last moment a couple of hours earlier, but that mattered little to the reigning champion by the time Race One rolled around. A fantastic start from the Kawasaki rider shot him ahead of Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) at the lights, and with an open track ahead, Rea proved to be unbeatable once again. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in second and Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) in third completed the podium. Rea was the only rider to make it into the 1’34s at the start of the race, opening a comfortable gap with the large group of pursuers. There was plenty movement behind inside the opening laps, with Laverty and Davies, who had blasted up the field at the lights from seventh on the grid, making quick work of Sykes, while Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) also put his name in contention for a rostrum spot with a stunning start from eleventh.

With Rea flying away into the distance, Davies finally managed to catch the Aprilia by lap 16. Laverty went very wide going into Turn 16, a mistake that Davies welcomed going through the straight. It’s Davies’ third consecutive second position and yet another solid ride by the Welshman. While his teammate’s Aprila RSV4 RF suffered from performance issues in the final third of the race, there were no such problems for Laverty, who takes his second consecutive podium. After four years without a WorldSBK top three finish, this time it has only taken the Irish rider two weeks to claim a return to the rostrum. Van der Mark completed an excellent Race One with fourth position, less than five seconds off of Rea despite his row four start, and making it four manufacturers in the four top spots. He crossed the line ahead of Sykes and will start from pole tomorrow, with the Englishman only able to make it through in fifth after starting from the front of the grid.

Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team), in special ‘tricolore’ livery for the Misano race, was the best independent rider in Race One, making his way to the line in sixth, ahead of the home duo of Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in seventh and Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) in eighth. Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) returned to the top ten after a disappointing US Round with ninth place on Saturday. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing Verdnatura) meanwhile scored only his fourth top ten finish of the season, coming in behind the Honda in tenth. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), who was until today the sole rider to score points in every race of 2018, crashed twice and was unable to finish.

Race Two

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has taken his second win of the weekend at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli after a scorcher of a race around the Rimini track. If yesterday was a relatively comfortable affair for the defending champion, on Sunday Rea had to dig deep and get the best out of his incredible talents, making several stunning passes on his way to beating Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) with three laps to go. With the riders 21 laps away from a two-month summer break and everyone eager to impress, the opening minutes were nothing short than all-out war. Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) made a blistering run at the lights, flying into first place, but a technical issue ended the Spaniard’s race just two laps later. Meanwhile, Rea jumped straight up to fifth, but was then blown away by Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) through lap 2. With van der Mark making the most of the open track ahead, Rea won over two thrilling battles with the works Ducati bikes. A first joust with Davies saw the defending champion coming out in front after an ambitious move through Turn 14. Then, with both Rea and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) finding their way past Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), the pair engaged in an electric battle all through laps 7 and 8, trading places several times for second.

Ultimately, Rea prevailed again, and began his hunt of the race leader, now over a second ahead and twelve laps around Misano to go. The Kawasaki rider finally caught van der Mark with five laps to go – and so did Melandri, hanging on to the ZX-10RR’s pace. The trio went into the closing laps with less than half a second separating them. With the Ducati suddenly breathing down both their necks, Rea chose to make his move with three laps to go. A feint down Turn 1, a stunning pass down the inside through 2, and making it stick on the exit from the Variante del Parco: Rea first, and perhaps his hardest win of the season secured. While he couldn’t fight back in the remaining turns, van der Mark had just enough left in the tank to defend his position from Melandri, taking second place at the flag and guaranteeing a fourth consecutive weekend with a Yamaha bike on the podium. Melandri couldn’t repeat his phenomenal win from last season’s Race Two, but a return to the rostrum in third will have left both the Ducati rider and the home fans ecstatic after a few difficult races. Davies finally crossed the line in fourth, not quite able to consistently match the front pace. A difficult end after a promising start for the Welshman, who now enters the summer break 89 points behind Rea. He finished ahead of Sykes in fifth. After a race to forget yesterday, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) bounced back brilliantly in sixth despite having to start from the back of row 4. He endured a late charge from Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) in seventh, who managed to beat his teammate Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) this time around, with the Irish rider finishing eighth. Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) came back from his early crash in yesterday’s event with a ninth position, with Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) closing the top ten. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) was the best independent rider in Rimini, taking eleventh.

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