In taking his first double race win of the season at Imola today Jonathan Rea (KRT) made WorldSBK history by equalling the all-time record of 59 career race wins. He now shares that honour with WorldSBK legend Carl Fogarty. Tom Sykes (KRT) finished a fighting third in race two, after sharing a third row starting position with Rea.
After a masterful race one win for Rea from pole position on Saturday, Sunday’s 19-lap race delivered a victory of a different kind. Starting from ninth, and not getting away as cleanly as his team-mate Sykes, Rea had to put in several passes before getting into the slipstream of early leader Chaz Davies.
Rea was in second place after four laps, and sat behind Davies for much of the race before deciding to make a final pass into the Variante Alta, on lap 13. Rea put in two blistering laps with clear track ahead of him and eventually won by a margin of 4.019 seconds. He has now won half for the races in 2018, but this is the first time has been able to win the second race of any weekend, rather than the first.
He now has the chance to become the stand-alone record holder for race wins at the next round, at his home circuit of Donington.
For Tom Sykes a less than perfect front end feel in race two held him back down the order for some time, even after he had made a strong launch from his seventh place grid position.
As some other riders fell Sykes used all his experience to catch and pass Xavi Fores with three laps to go, and took his fourth podium of the 2018 season. In doing so he has moved up to third in the championship rankings.
Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) just missed out on a point after running off track late in the race, being classified 16th.
In the championship standings, after five of 13 rounds, Rea leads Davies by 47 points, 209 to 162, with Sykes now third on 137.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “We got it done and it was probably the best race win of the season. Coming from ninth on the grid, it was so difficult. I was not so confident I could win today. In fact, it was Fabien Foret, who kept talking me round. I think I was over-thinking the first lap a lot – and my track position – coming from the outside of row three. I lost places in the first corner but eventually I was able to stick in some passes. I wasted no time so when I arrived with Chaz I was able to relax a little bit behind him and understand where I could pass him. I tried two or three times, but he was determined to come back. The final time I made it through, into the Variante Alta, it was time to put my head down, set two clean laps and make a gap. It was really nice to equal the record total of race wins, and with a long season left I feel confident that I can extend my win tally, and that is super-nice.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “It is positive that I am now third in the championship, so we are coming back. We had a difficult feeling with the front of the bike today and it was not easy to do what I wanted on the entry to corners. That meant I suffered with rear traction on the exits, so it was difficult for me to manage the race. I kept pushing and I could see the guys in front of me had better overall speed but, strategically, I tried to come back at them and slowly, slowly got there. Michael van der Mark made a mistake and he and Marco Melandri were out of the race and that made it easier for me to manage. On a ‘bad’ day I was able to take a podium so I have to be happy for this.”
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 10, Wins 5, Podiums 8, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 59 (44 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 120 (78 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 10, Wins 1, Podiums 4, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 104 (103 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 43 (43 for Kawasaki)
5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 115 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 360 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 76 – second overall