Rea wins and takes the lead in the championship
After a tough opening round in Australia, in Thailand Jonathan Rea scored his first win of the season. The Kawasaki rider also took the lead in the Superbike Championship.
“At Phillip Island, I was really out of shape,” Rea recalls. Beaten in the first two races of the season, the triple world champion got back back on the right track in Buriram, scoring his first win of the season. Winner of the first race of the weekend after taking pole position, Rea had to settle for fourth place on Sunday afternoon after a minor brake problem. “The overall result is still satisfactory,” he says. “But we know this year is going to be more difficult because of the new regulation that penalizes the best riders. I’m happy to have scored my first win and at the same time find myself in the lead of the championship.” In the Thai heat wave, Sykes also suffered from brake problems. Sixth on Saturday afternoon, the Kawasaki rider was forced to retire the next day. “It just was not my weekend,” laments the former world champion. Razgatlioglu racked up fifteenth and eighth places. In Supersport, Kenan Sofuoglu had to withdraw from the Buriram event. The Turkish rider who is still suffering from injuries to his pelvis preferred not to ride in order to be fighting fit for the next event in Spain. His teammate Okubo managed to make it to the top ten before crashing in the last lap. The Japanese rider, however, was able to start off again and crossed the finish line in nineteenth place.
With his victory, Jonathan Rea has taken first place in the general classification from Marco Melandri. Two points separate the Brit from the Italian. Tom Sykes is seventh with a score of forty-three points. Toprak Razgatlioglu is in tenth place while in Supersport Sofuoglu and Okubo respectively hold seventeenth and nineteenth places. The next event is on April 15 on the Aragon circuit at Alcañiz.
Since joining Kawasaki, Jonathan Rea had never had an opportunity to take part in the Suzuka Eight Hours. Winner of this prestigious Endurance event in 2012, this year the Brit will sign his big comeback with Team Green. Rea will team up with fellow countryman Leon Haslam and Japan’s Kazuma Watanabe. “Suzuka is the most demanding test for both a rider and a machine,” said the three-time world Superbike champion. “The circuit is like a roller coaster. There is not a single moment where you can relax. And in summer, the weather conditions are always very hard in Japan. I know how demanding the event is and I am delighted to be able to take part in it again. Winning with Kawasaki would be just fantastic.” We’ll see what happens on July 29 on one of the most legendary racetracks in the world.