In what is a truly sensational comeback, Jonathan Rea leaves Donington Park with a 24-point advantage after being 61 points down just 8 races ago!
It has been a roller-coaster season in WorldSBK and there has been yet another twist in the tale of 2019, as Jonathan Rea takes the championship lead for the first time. A win in Race 1 propelled the four-time WorldSBK champion to the head of the standings, as he capitalised fully on the crash of Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati). Backed up with wins in the Tissot Superpole Race and in Race 2, Jonathan Rea has found himself back in the lead of the championship.
Race 2 started well for Rea, as he launched of pole position and led the field on the run through the opening lap. However, it was not an easy win, as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) raced through on Rea at Turn 11. The two then had a race-long tussle, before Rea took the lead in the second half of the race. Seeing home Razgatlioglu, Rea took an incredible 78th win of his career to reignite the hopes of the entirety of the Northern Ireland and the rest of Great Britain to take the lead of the championship heading to the United States of America.
Speaking after the race, Rea described the feeling of being back at the head of the standings: “It is incredible! A similar story to Misano in Race 2 with Toprak; he was so strong on the brakes. My team gave me a great bike, physically this weekend I felt really good and I was able to extract the best potential from the Kawasaki ZX-10RR.
“We worked step-by-step throughout the weekend, in FP1 I was a little bit unhappy with our set-up as we were quite far away – 0.9s from the fastest lap time but we arrive in the end with three race wins. To be back in the lead of the championship, I can’t quite believe it!”
Next up for Rea is the USA and Laguna Seca, a circuit he secured both wins at in 2018 on his way to a fourth WorldSBK crown. Now with the championship lead, how does Rea approach the Geico US Round of the championship?
Responding, the four-time WorldSBK champion said: “I love everything about Laguna Seca, I love being there; there is a really good atmosphere in the USA for World Superbike, the fans seem really enthusiastic. As a track, it is very demanding, and the undulations are incredible; you need a lot from a bike, you need it to be stable but also very agile.
“It is a great track and I can’t wait to get there, but first, I want to enjoy these next couple of days. Weekends like these don’t come along often and this is my best weekend of the season, so I am very happy.”
Watch more thrilling action from World Superbike in 2019 with the WorldSBK VideoPass!