Rea Races Right On
With two new podiums including one win, Jonathan Rea negotiated to perfection the first European event of the season organized in Alcañiz on the Aragon circuit. The Kawasaki rider consolidated his first place in the overall classification.
With one win and a second place at the first European meeting of the season, Jonathan Rea seems to have found his cruising speed. The only rider to stand up to the Ducati’s on the Alcañiz circuit, the reigning world champion took the lead on Saturday, with five laps to go. Leaving Forez, Melandri and Davies on the spot, Rea won his fifty-sixth World Superbike victory. “We had problems during the practice test sessions but the fact that the weather cooled off helped us in the race,” explained the Brit. “The team did a great job once again.” The next day, a small error in the final lap as he fought it out with Davies forced him to accept second place. “In the end, this weekend in Spain was very positive,” analyzed the Kawasaki rider. “I scored some important points and increased my lead in the championship.” Finishing sixth in both races, Tom Sykes did not do as well. In the Supersport category, Sheridan Morais pocketed his first points of the season. Called in to replace Kenan Sofuoglu, who is still injured, the Portuguese rider placed seventh. Hikari Okubo, his teammate, had to retire before the finish line.
With forty-five more points chalked up, Jonathan Rea has consolidated his position as Championship leader. The triple world champion is now twelve points ahead of Chaz Davies. Seventh overall, Tom Sykes is only three points behind Van der Mark. In Supersport, Sheridan Morais has joined the rankings in fourteenth place. Kenan Sofuoglu is now twentieth and Hikari Okubo twenty-third.
The new Technical Regulations of the Superbike World Championship definitely do not suit Tom Sykes. A hard braker, the Kawasaki rider has always been one of those who knows best how to get the most out of his engine. Often slower on the apex than his opponents, Sykes opens the throttle before everyone else. Unluckily, today, with a limited engine speed, the Brit can’t benefit as much from the power of his engine. And especially its reach. “When I find myself in a pack, my times are not as good as when I ride alone,” he laments. “The guys bother me during braking and curve entry, and I cannot overtake them when I come out of the bends. And even at the end of a straight line, I cannot take advantage of their slipstream. We’re going to have to find some solutions to get round these difficulties.” Since his second place at Phillip Island early in the season, Tom Sykes has not returned to the podium. The former world champion has not had such a series of poor results in six years.