Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) returned to winning days at Imola during this weekend World Superbike round at the Italian racetrack. The Kawasaki rider last victory at Imola was in 2015, but this weekend the triple World SBK champion showed he’s in top form and won both races.
In Race 1, Jonathan Rea and his Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes both got away from the rest of the field right from the start, but Rea always led the race and showed he is the best rider by not giving a chance to Sykes take the lead.
By half race the Kawasaki riders were far out in front, but Rea managed to open up a gap to Sykes, and they crossed the finish line in 1st and 2nd.
Behind the Kawasaki duo, Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Ducati) returned to the podium after some races without the results he promised in the first races of the year.
In Race 2, the situation changed a little bit with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Ducati) starting from “pole”, having finished Race 1 in fourth after a nightmare race for him with several mistakes. Davies wanted to redeem himself and made everything he could to run away for victory, but Jonathan Rea was again quick from the start, and after a few laps overtaking other riders, the champion was already on the back of the Ducati of Chaz Davies.
The pair opened up a gap to the chasing group, and it was clear that no one could keep up with them, so the victory would be down to Davies and Rea.
The Kawasaki rider showed again he is on another level when it comes to think about strategy, and let Chaz Davies do all the effort for most of Race 2. When entering the last 10 laps, and after studying his rival, Jonathan Rea decided it was time to attack, and after two shots at the lead, he made it stick entering the Variante Alta corner.
Rea came out of Tosa corner really fast, and when braking for the Variante Alta he was already side-by-side with Chaz Davies. With the inside line, it was easy for Rea to overtake Davies, who had no room to try and get back to the lead of the race.
From that moment on, Rea pushed his Kawasaki to the maximum and opened a margin of around 2 seconds to Chaz Davies who still tried to get back in contention but with no real chance to attack Jonathan Rea.
With his second win of the weekend at Imola, Jonathan Rea equaled the record for total number of victories in World Superbike. He now shares that record with legendary rider Carl Fogarty, both with 59 wins.
In third position, Tom Sykes bounced back from a poor start to Race 2. The British rider once again stepped into the podium, and with this result the podium for Race 2 at Imola was all British, the first time this happens this season.
The fight for the title is now even more unbalanced with Jonathan Rea opening up a big difference to his rivals. Rea has 209 points, Chaz Davies is second with 162 and Tom Sykes is third with 137.