Just like Imola five rounds and nearly two months previously, WorldSBK World Champion Jonathan Rea relished his turn on Italian soil to post another 1-1 set of results at Misano this weekend. #1 wrapped another finger around a fourth consecutive title thanks to his prolificacy in Italy, and not only celebrated wins nine and ten from eighteen in 2018 but also notched his third double of the campaign and second in a row to drink-in a virulent mid-season spike of form and enter the summer break on a rush of ‘feel-good’.
Rea was unstoppable in the hot and muggy conditions on the Adriatic coast. He won the first race from countryman and Ducati star Chaz Davies and had his work cut-out to beat Michael Van Der Mark in the second; eventually getting the better of the Dutchman by less than half a second at the line.
“That was a super-super hard race,” Rea admitted. “Yesterday I controlled the race. I could lead from the front, make my rhythm and go away. Today I could not make that in the beginning and I spent so much tyre and energy coming through the traffic. It was a hard job to track down Mikey and when I arrived I was starting to panic a little bit with five laps to go. I wanted to be in the lead by that stage and make a gap. I was worried about getting through because he was not making mistakes, but then he ran into the last corner a little bit deep, and I was able to pull alongside and outbrake him in T1. I made a lot of passes in that race and it was really hard work.”
Rea’s spoils took Kawasaki’s SBK win total up to 120 (the champion contributing 49 of those) and lifted the manufacturer to the position of being the second most successful brand in the series’ history.
Tom Sykes – who has his own valuable part of Kawasaki’s story with 34 triumphs – grabbed Superpole but could not resolve a front-end issue and could rise no higher than 5th in both sprints. Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes crashed out on Saturday but bagged decent points with 6th on Sunday.
WorldSBK now enters a hefty pause with resumption of racing duties in Portugal in mid-September and with events in Argentina, France and Qatar left to go. Rea heads Davies by a massive 92 points: almost four races with just eight left.